13 Oct 2016

Why AGF Used DSS Instead of the EFCC for the Arrest and Prosecution of Corrupt Judges

It has been revealed that the frosty relationship between the Attorney General of the Federation and EFCC might be the reason why he refused to involve the agency in the prosecution of corrupt judges in Nigeria.

It has been revealed that the real reason why the Federal Ministry of Justice refused to use the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for its prosecution of corrupt judges and opted for the Department of State Security (DSS) was for the fact that the ministry discovered that the EFCC failed to act on previous petitions as expected.

According to a report by Punch, it was gathered that some human rights groups forwarded petitions to the Federal Ministry of Justice when the anti-graft agency failed to investigate and prosecute the judges.

The report further stated that the relationship between the EFCC and the Ministry of Justice had been cold owing to the inability of the EFCC to speedily investigate some of the cases forwarded to it by the ministry.

One particular case which caused friction between the government EFCC and the Federal Ministry of Justice had to do with a petition on the withdrawal of over N11bn from the Rivers State Government’s account between October, 2015, and February, 2016.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, had, in March, 2016, directed the EFCC to investigate the withdrawal, which the ministry described as suspicious, but nothing was forthcoming.

“From all indications, because of the EFCC’s seeming inaction on some of these cases, the ministry of justice has now resorted to forwarding the petitions to the DSS.  Obviously the EFCC is not happy with this,” a top government source stated.

The relationship between the ministry and the anti-graft agency has actually not been cordial since President Muhammadu Buhari sent the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2016, to the National Assembly through the AGF earlier this year, Punch reported.

As a result of the EFCC's obvious disinterest in investigating the cases brought to it, the AGF opted to use the DSS to prosecute the judges.

It would be recalled that the DSS had in a sting operation, stormed and arrested some alleged corrupt judgesacross the state over corruption related charges.

However, it is believed the latest decision by the AGF might create unwelcome rivalry between the agencies as the EFCC had been trailing the judges for months through its own underground investigations only for the DSS to scuffle the whole plot.

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