President Muhammadu Buhari has finally beamed his corruption searchlight on some prominent chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Senator George Akume, Saminu Turaki, Sen. Ahmed Yerima, Senator Danjuma Goje, Murtala Nyako, Obong Victor Attah, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, all who are chieftains of his party, the APC, are prominent among the 31 former governors whose corruption cases have been reopened nine years after leaving office.
The 31 former governors suspected to have looted the resources of their states are to face criminal prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over allegations bordering on money laundering, theft and contracts inflation.
Also, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, has already begun processes of filing corrupt charges against some former governors before an Abuja High Court and Federal High Abuja respectively.
Many of the former governors left office as early as 2003 while the rest ended their tenures and lost immunity from prosecution between 2007 and 2015, but were never questioned by any of the agencies.
Most of them were reportedly investigated by the Justice Mustapha Akanbi-led ICPC while others were probed by the EFCC.
It was gathered that the federal government recently raised a national prosecution team made up of eminent Nigerian lawyers to review all the corruption cases already investigated by anti-graft agencies over the years.
The Buhari administration, whose major agenda is to eradicate corruption from the polity, is said to be upset that the suspected looters have not been brought to justice, thereby giving fillip to many other politicians to loot with impunity.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami confirmed that all the corruption cases against the former governors were being reviewed.
“I can confirm that all the cases referred to are being reviewed to ensure that those who have cases are brought to book, while those who have no case are cleared once and for all,” the minister said.
A highly placed source at the EFCC yesterday told Nigerian Pilot that the commission through its legal department was currently working on vacating the perpetual injunction granted to former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, by a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, restraining the EFCC and other security agencies from arresting, investigating or prosecuting the former governor.
Dr. Odili’s administration is alleged to have mismanagement a whooping sum of N100 billion.
The government is said to be making the point that the judge who granted the injunction worked against the overall interest of justice as the Constitution of Nigeria did not give the judge the power to permanently protect a suspect from being investigated and tried for financial crimes.
The federal judge who gave the injunction is said to be under pressure to explain to legal authorities why he granted such an order and whether in his opinion, the cause of justice had been effectively served by his questionable decision.
The EFCC is said to be working relentlessly to set aside the injunction, which had shaken the judicial circles since it was given by the judge in 2007.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami is said to have written to the chairman of the ICPC directing the reopening of the cases.
Two highly placed sources both in the ICPC and EFCC confirmed to Nigerian Pilot that many of the former governors were investigated and charged to court, but that the cases had not made progress, thus giving the impression that nothing was done about them.
Among the former governors whose cases are being reopened are president of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki (Kwara); factional chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff (Borno); the Senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), and Dr. Peter Odili (Rivers).
Others are Senator George Akume (Benue), Martins Elechi (Ebonyi), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Jonah Jang (Plateau), and Theodore Orji (Abia).
The case files, according to sources in the Ministry of Justice, have already been recalled for necessary actions.
Others whose cases are being reviewed include Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Saminu Turaki (Jigawa), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Joshua Dariye (Plateau), Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa).
Also included are Ikedi Ohakim (Imo), Obong Victor Attah(Akwa Ibom), Achike Udenwa (Imo), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa), Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), Jolly Nyame (Taraba), Boni Haruna (Adamawa), Rashidi Ladoja (Oyo), Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto), Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo), Usman Dakingari (Kebbi), Adamu Mu’azu (Bauchi), and Lucky Igbinedion (Edo).
According to the source, former governors that are already in court facing corruption charges by the EFCC will be carefully looked at in other to avoid double jeopardy, because the court cannot charge an accused person twice on similar charges.
The source further added that almost all the former governors, particularly those that had no issues in court, would be officially docked in various courts across the country immediately after the annual vacation of judges and judges’ conference in September this year.
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