Osinbajo Meets With Heads Of Prosecuting Agencies

Yemi Osinbajo, OndoAll heads of prosecuting agencies of the Federal Government are in a crucial meeting with Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa.

The agencies include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Services (DSS), and the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).

Although the reason for the meeting is unknown, feelers are that it may not be unconnected with the recent setbacks suffered in the government’s corruption cases.

Details coming shortly.

Court Stops Arrest Of Kuku Pending Appeal Hearing

Kingsley KukuThe Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other agencies from arresting, probing or prosecuting Mr Kingsley Kuku.

He was a Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs.

Justice Okon Abang had on February 17, in a ruling on a fundamental right suit, instituted by Mr Kuku against the EFCC and others, held that the respondents could arrest, probe and prosecute Mr Kuku over alleged financial impropriety during his tenure.

Dissatisfied with the court’s ruling, Mr Kuku appealed against the verdict and filed a motion for a stay of execution, dated February 23, and supported with an 11 paragraph affidavit, deposed to by one Chinedu Obata before the court.

Justice Abang, who is currently sitting in Abuja Division of the Court, was in Lagos on Tuesday with the permission of the Chief Judge, to deliver his ruling on the application.

Nothing To Lose

The court in its ruling held that the application before the court had nothing to do with the statutory right of the respondents.

Justice Abang ordered the parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of an appeal filed by Mr Kuku on the matter.

“Time cannot run against the State in arresting or prosecuting the applicant if truly, he is culpable of the alleged offence.

“The respondents have nothing to lose if status quo is maintained. So, all action concerning arrest, detention and prosecution of the applicant should hold on for now, till final determination of the appeal on the matter,” the court ruled.

Justice Abang in the earlier judgment, which declared that the anti-graft agency had a right to arrest Mr Kuku, warned the commission not to coerce or threaten anybody to give false statement against the applicant.

Besides, the court also held that if Kuku was arrested, he should not be detained beyond 48 hours because that would contravene Section 35(4) & (5) of the Nigerian Constitution.

Mr Kuku had sued the Attorney-General of the Federation, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Immigration Service, alleging that they had “plots to concoct, fabricate or falsify evidence in order to provide a basis for his arrest, detention, persecution and/or prosecution for political reasons”.

According to him, this was “in furtherance of the unconscionable use of the otherwise laudable war against corruption to repress the political opposition constituted by the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including the applicant”.

He sought a declaration that any such invitation, arrest, harassment or prosecution on the basis of allegations of corruption in respect to his tenure as Chairman of the Amnesty Programme between 2011 and 2015 was a breach of his right to fair hearing and freedom of movement.

Mr Kuku also sought an order prohibiting the respondents from arresting or prosecuting him on the basis of the allegations.

The Auditor-General of the Federation had raised questions over the alleged mismanagement of funds in reports of audit monitoring and evaluation of the amnesty programme.

Mr Kuku’s lawyer, Mr Ajibola Oluyede, said the respondents were about to abuse the criminal process by seeking to arrest his client.

“There is an illegal and unjustifiable instigation of the criminal process against the applicant in a manner that infringes upon his fundamental rights, as enshrined in Chapter four of the 1999 Constitution,” he said.

Court Fails To Give Judgment In Stella Oduah’s Case

Stella-Oduah-SenatorA Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has again failed to deliver judgment in the suit filed by a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, seeking the enforcement of her fundamental rights.

Justice Okon Abang, who has been transferred to the Abuja division of the court, was in Lagos but he informed parties that the judgment was not ready owing to the workload of the court.

He, therefore, adjourned the judgment till February 17, pointing out that the 90 days stipulated for delivery of the judgment had not elapsed.

The applicant, Mrs Stella Oduah, who is also a Senator, had filed the suit in August, 2015, seeking the enforcement of her fundamental rights as guaranteed under the constitution.

In the suit, Mrs Oduah asked the court to make an order, restraining the respondents from probing her over the purchase of two armoured BMW by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority under her watch in 2013.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Inspector General of Police are joined as respondents in the suit.

Mrs Oduah contends that the respondents had planned to unleash repression on her, and try her on trumped up charges.

She asked the court to restrain the respondents from persecuting and humiliating her, under the guise of an anti-graft war.

On August 26, 2015, during the court’s vacation, the vacation judge, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, issued an order of interim injunction, restraining the respondents and defendants from taking any action pending the final determination of the suit.

Meanwhile, the AGF and EFCC had in a counter affidavit, urged the court to dismiss the applicant’s suit for lack of merit.

They described the applicant’s claims as baseless and speculative, arguing that the claims could not be justified.

On December 1, 2015, Justice Abang adjourned the case for judgment, after lawyers representing the parties adopted their written addresses before the court.

Government Asks Youths To Join Fight Against Corruption

Government Woos Youth In Fight Against CorruptionThe Federal Government of Nigeria has advised youths in the country to join the fight against corruption in order to fast track the development of the nation.

Speaking in Abuja at a National Conference on Youth against Corruption organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) on Tuesday, the Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr Solomon Dalong, criticised youths who have offered themselves as agents of corruption and thuggery.

The conference titled ‘Mobilising the Nigerian Youth against Corruption’, sought to engage potential leaders in order to mold their attitudinal disposition to matters of corruption and the war against the phenomenon.

Mr Dalong advised Nigerian youths to re-examine themselves and shun all forms of corrupt practices and evil manipulations by people who do not mean well for Nigeria as a nation.

The Chairman of the ICPC, Ekpo Nta and a member of the Commission, Professor Olu Aina, decried the poor role of youths in the fight against corruption.

Some youths at the meeting, however, believed that the fight against corruption could be won with the collective efforts of all Nigerians.

Anti-graft Agency Warns Legislators Against Corrupt Practices

lawmakers corrupt practicesThe Independent Corrupt Practices Commission has warned Nigerian Legislators against corrupt practices, saying it will activate the anti-graft law for all corrupt lawmakers and those caught perverting the due process of the law.

The Provost of the Anti-Corruption Academy, an arm of the commission, Professor Sola Akinrinade, gave the warning in Abuja on Tuesday while reading a riot act to legislators across Nigeria.

Professor Akinrinade was addressing State legislators at a workshop on ‘Integrity in the Legislature’.

He said that the long arm of the law was waiting for persons who were in the habit of helping themselves to unfair proportions of the national cake.

The Provost of the academy pointed out that a honest and diligent deployment of some legislative processes such as public hearings and oversight functions were veritable tools of fighting corruption in Nigeria.

Since President Muhammadu Buhari took over on May 29, there has been huge attention paid to the fight against corruption, after the President said in his inaugural speech that he would tackle corruption in the system which had been identified as a major setback to the oil-rich nation’s development.

SEC Intensifies Anti-corruption Efforts In Financial Sector

secThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Nigeria, is intensifying efforts to entrench transparency and accountability in the capital market, by a strict monitoring of financial operations to curb corrupt practices.

Senior Manager in the office of the Director-General of the Commission and a member of the Monitoring Unit, Bridget Emakpor, said in a statement that Nigeria’s status in the corruption index is a serious cause for concern which must be rectified.

The Commission noted that a new Anti-corruption Transparency and Monitoring Unit (ATMU) has been set up in collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

It also added that the ATMU in collaboration with ICPC, has the task to ensure proper ethics and traceable growth in the Nigerian financial sector in line with global standards.

Why ICPC, EFCC Should Not Be Merged

A social commentator and Managing Consultant of the Anti-Corruption Observatory group, Ivie Richards on Wednesday kicked against the Federal Government approval to merge two anti-graft agencies, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mr Richards, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said these agencies were established for different purposes.

He said, “The ICPC came into force via an act in June 2000. If you look at that law, it was directed primarily at the everyday occurrences and corruption issues in the public sector; things like embezzlement, clientilism, bribery, victimization and things like these.
He said the ICPC law hinders the agency from going out to seek information and from protecting informants.

“Section 27 of that law says that the ICPC must receive petition from the public before it can act. A subsection of that law also says that someone who is an illiterate for instance want to volunteer information to ICPC, a staff of the ICPC orally takes down you statement and then you have to thump print. In other words, the ICPC cannot protect informant and they cannot go seeking for information,” he said.

Mr Richards said this is different from the law setting up the EFCC.

“Section 38 and 39 of that law says that the EFCC can go seeking for information and they are not obliged to reveal their sources of information. In other words, they can protect their informant,” he said.

The Federal Government had on Monday approved the merging of the ICPC and the EFCC.

The merger of the two commissions comes as part of the government’s decision to implement the recommendations of the Steve Oronsaye-led Presidential Committee on the rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies.

The EFCC was established in 2003 to investigate financial crimes such as Advance Fee Fraud (419) and money laundering. Its establishment by the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration was seen to be an urgent response to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, which had named Nigeria as one of the 23 countries non-cooperative in the international community’s efforts to fight money laundering.

The ICPC was also inaugurated by the Obasanjo administration to, among other functions, receive and investigate reports of corruption and prosecute the offender[s]; and to examine, review and enforce the correction of corruption-prone systems and procedures of public bodies with a view to eliminating corruption in public life.

Both agencies were set up by enabling laws.