AGF, EFCC differ over inter-agency cooperation in corruption cases
• Sagay seeks punishment for lawyers who frustrate suits
• Cleric cautions against abuse of office
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has differed with the anti-graft agencies in the prosecution of high profile corruption cases.
He spoke at a forum organised by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in Lagos, where the Special Adviser to the President on Prosecution, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, represented him.
He said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) were not cooperating with the ministry.
The theme of the media roundtable was “Strategies and Approaches for the Successful Completion and Effective Prosecution of Abandoned and Unresolved High Profile Cases of Corruption in Nigeria: Combating Grand Corruption and Impunity in Nigeria.”
According to him, about 31 pending corruption cases might have been compromised, because the anti-graft agencies have refused to furnish the AGF’s office with the particulars of the cases.
He called for a collective approach against corruption in the country.But EFCC’s Head of Legal and Prosecution, Gbolahan Latona, who represented the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu refuted the allegation.
He said the AG’s office doesn’t need to wait for the EFCC before it could fight corruption, adding that it has the power to prosecute without waiting for the EFCC’s investigation.
The Ogun State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Mr. Olumide Ayeni, who chaired the event, regretted that inter-agencies bickering was sending a wrong signal to the society on high-profile corruption cases.Also, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay advocated “stiff punishment for lawyers, particularly Senior Advocates, who have turned proceedings on high-profile corruption cases into an art.”
He urged prosecuting counsel in grand corruption cases “to apply to reinstate any case struck out for want of prosecution.”The Guest Speaker, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George said “The National Judicial Council should be proactive” in tackling corruption, by purging itself to avoid executive interference, which a lawyer, Babatunde Ogala, supported.
Meanwhile, the Superintendent, Apostolic Faith Church, West and Central Africa (WECA) District, Rev. Emmanuel Bayo Adeniran has cautioned clerics against abuse of office.
Adeniran gave the warning when he spoke at Igbesa, Ogun State at the 2017 edition of the Church’s annual international convention with the theme “Behold He Cometh, Be Ready.”The cleric commended the government for separating religious subjects from other courses, saying it was a step in the right direction.
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