The Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, on Saturday, said the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), may report the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu; and Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Ekpo Nta, to the Presidency.
He revealed that the heads of the agencies could be sanctioned for insurbodination for withholding the case files of more than 35 ex-governors and senators from the AGF.
The case files requested by the AGF in separate letters to both agencies were for ex-governors, including Bukola Saraki (Kwara, now Senate President); Ali Modu Sheriff (Borno); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia); Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu); Saminu Turaki (Jigawa); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Joshua Dariye (Plateau); Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara); Gabriel Suswam (Benue); James Ibori (Delta); Martin Elechi (Ebonyi); Danjuma Goje (Gombe); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Ikedi Ohakim (Imo); Gbenga Daniel (Ogun); Achike Udenwa (Imo); Ubong Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom); Jolly Nyame (Taraba); Rasheed Ladoja (Oyo); Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo); Adamu Mu’azu (Bauchi); Lucky Igbinedion (Edo) and Peter Odili (Rivers).
Senators on the list included Stella Oduah and George Akume.
Obono-Obla said the refusal of the two anti-corruption agencies to forward the files to the AGF since July 2016 when the request was made had caused a setback to the anti-graft campaign of the Federal Government.
He had on Tuesday alleged that the EFCC and ICPC were not cooperating with Malami, which had led to the loss of some high-profile corruption cases.
Speaking on Saturday, Obono-Obla said, “When this administration came on board, one of the reforms that were initiated was the setting up of a National Prosecution Committee to complement the efforts of the anti-corruption agencies and the Department of Public Prosecution.
“A team of highly motivated lawyers, investigators and policy makers were brought in. The committee was inaugurated on May 27, 2016 by the then Vice President, now acting President.
“The essence of the committee was for us to take on the looters of our treasury and we have to ask the heads of the anti-corruption agencies to furnish us with case files starting from 2006.
“You remember that former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, had told the National Assembly at a time that 32 former governors were being investigated by the commission. So, we demanded the reports so that we could file criminal proceedings against those ex-governors indicted in those reports. I also made a similar application to the ICPC, but they refused to comply.
“Most important, we asked them to give us the files of senators under investigation. We wanted to, after getting those files, file an order of interim attachment of properties belonging to the suspects under investigation. This is because under Section 28.4 of the EFCC Act, when suspects are arrested, the commission attaches all the properties acquired under that financial crime.
“So, we wanted to really wage a war, get those files and carry out those attachments so that Nigerians will know we are really serious about this war on corruption. And disappointedly, they refused to hand over those files and have refused to work with the AGF.
“The AGF is the chief prosecutor of the country and I see no reason why agencies under his supervision should not cooperate with him.
“The AGF is bothered and he may likely take a definite position. What the bosses of the agencies have done amounts to insurbodination under the public service rule because the AGF is a chief legal officer and the agencies under him are to respect him. The AGF’s position may be to report the heads to the Presidency.”
The Special Assistant to the AGF on Media and Publicity, Salihu Isah, told SUNDAY PUNCH in Abuja that the office of the AGF would keep the pressure on based on heads of the anti-corruption agencies to release the case files.
He said, “Everything we are doing is official procedure. We are not relenting. We have decided to put further pressure on the agencies. That is the best option for now.
“If the pressure doesn’t work, we know how to handle the situation.”
When contacted, the spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, referred one of our correspondents to the official response of the commission last week.
The EFCC’s Head of Legal Department, G.K. Latona, had last week denied claims that the commission was not cooperating with the AGF.
He said, “We are not working at cross purposes with the office of the Attorney General of the Federation; we are cooperating with them. We have a wide range of corruption cases in concert with state agencies.
“The Attorney General’s office has the right to initiate new high-profile corruption cases and investigate them without waiting for cases initiated by the EFCC. We are also working on best practices manuals for the prosecutors and investigators. If we want a corruption-free society, we must all work towards it.”
The spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, did not respond to calls or text messages sent to her by one of our correspondents.