The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has made available, the details of the high profile cases it handled to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
As reported by Punch, a recent list sent to the AGF’s office, comprised 103 high-profile cases.
Those on the list, it was learnt, include top-ranking judicial officers, including a justice of the Supreme Court, a judge of the Federal High Court, and a sacked justice of the Court of Appeal.
Buhari’s cabinet, and others serving their terms in the Senate.
Other politically-exposed persons named in the list are some former ministers, senators and some persons being investigated for the $2.1 billion arms purchase scam.
The report says no names were made public in order not to compromise investigation, but that investigations were said to have been completed in majority of the cases while investigation was stalled in some of them due to “disappearance” of the suspects from Nigeria.
“Some of the cases are still at intelligence-gathering stage, while some are at investigation stage.
“There are some that are the stage of charges being drafted while some are already ongoing in court but foot-dragging,” Punch quotes an unnamed EFCC source.
The Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions and Chairman of the newly-constituted Recovery of Public Property Panel, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla confirmed that the EFCC had now yielded to the AGF’s request and that the AGF’s office had received the list from the EFCC but, refused to give details.
Obono-Obla, who works under the AGF, said the ICPC would send its list to the AGF when the new chairman of the commission is inaugurated.
“They are cooperating. They have sent the details of the cases we requested to us,” the presidential aide said.
When asked whether the AGF will by its action take over the prosecution of the cases from the EFCC, Obono-Obla said the AGF’s request was in line with constitutional and statutory provisions conferring on the AGF the supervisory authorities over the EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies.
He said, “The essence of getting the file was not to take up the prosecution. The essence is in line with the law that says the Attorney-General of the Federation is the chief prosecutor of the country.
“All those agencies are under the Office of Attorney-General of the Federation. So, we have to know what they are doing.
“We have to see what they are doing, so that if they are not doing the right thing we will advise them accordingly. The office of the AGF is as old as this country; the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation is as old as the country.
“These are some of the oldest institutions in this country. They have a lot of experiences.”
When asked to give the details of the list received from the EFCC, he said, “I don’t want to go into the details for now. At the appropriate time, we will let you know what we have seen and what we are going to do.”
When reminded of his earlier claim that both the EFCC and the ICPC were not cooperating with the AGF, Obono-Obla said, “Yes, I said so initially, but they are cooperating now because they now know that the law is very clear and that there is what we call EFCC enforcement regulation which was made by the office of the AGF pursuant to section 43 of the EFCC Act.
“Also in the constitutional provision, section 150(1) of the constitution, section 174(1) of the constitution, sections 105 to 106 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, it is very clear that the AGF is the chief prosecutor of the federation and the EFCC is under him.”
He said there was no pressure from higher authorities before the EFCC submitted the details requested to the AGF’s office.
The presidential aide said, “The law is clear. I don’t think there had to be any superior intervention. I have mentioned the constitution, the administration of Criminal Justice Act and the EFCC Act.
“The laws are very clear that they have to comply with the request of the AGF. The AGF can request files from any law enforcement agency in Nigeria and the law enforcement agency is obliged to comply.”
Denying any face-off between the AGF and the EFCC, he said it probably took the anti-corruption agency so long to respond to the AGF’s request because of the number of cases spanning over a decade that had to be compiled by the agency.
He said, “Well, they have not refused (to comply), we have the details from them now. Maybe they were taking their time. As I told you before, most of these cases are old cases from 2003 to 2004.
“So, if you make a request, it will take them time to put all the cases together. But as I told you, there cannot be any question of, they not obeying us. They cannot afford not to obey the Attorney-General of the Federation.”