AGF did not withdraw a N25 billion case against Goje– Malami

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami says investigation into the Malabu Oil and Senator Danjuma Goje, former governor of Gombe cases are “watertight and intensified”.

Malami said this in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by Dr Umar Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

The AGF said he has never at any time stated anywhere or advised any person or authority that there was no prima facie case in the matter.

“I unequivocally maintain that all persons indicted by the EFCC’s investigation report as regards the OPL 245 Malabu be prosecuted in accordance with the relevant laws.

“I have maintained that the investigation should be watertight and intensified to ensure that all essential elements of the alleged offences are established through a thorough and detailed investigation before proceeding to court with a view to filing success-driven charges against the suspects’’.

He said that it is common knowledge that since the EFCC filed charges against the suspects in Malabu Oil case before both the Federal and FCT High Courts, he has not at any time approached either of the courts to withdraw the charges even though he has the power to do so pursuant to Section 174 of the Constitution.

“The assertion that the AGF misled the President that there is no case in the Malabu Oil deal is not only laughable but ridiculous and should therefore be disregarded by the right-thinking members of the general public.

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“The AGF has been pursuing the case in Italy in relation to OPL 245 Malabu deal and has registered as interested parties in the ongoing case.  The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) sued JP Morgan in London.

“The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Nigeria on Oct.  8 2019 and dismissed JP Morgan Chase Bank claim to dismiss the FRN Claim and stated that JP Morgan Chase Bank has a case to answer in the FRN Claim.

“It is interesting to note that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation is pursuing traces of crime in relation to Malabu OPL 245 in Switzerland and Netherlands. The AGF remains resolute in looted asserts recovery and the general fight against corruption.

On the allegation that the AGF stopped the prosecution of former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki for allegedly forging the senate rules to conduct the election of principal officers of the Senate.

He said it is important to state that for securing conviction on any crime, investigation must be done to able to establish the essential ingredients of the offence.

“It is a fundamental principle of criminal justice administration in all climes that you do not file criminal charges where investigations have not revealed prima facie case against the suspects and Nigeria is not an exception.

As to the allegation of withdrawal of the corruption case of N25 billion against Sen. Danjuma Goje, he said the first point of correction is that the AGF did not withdraw a N25 billion case.

“The EFCC had filed a 21- count charge of N8 billion against Senator Goje and had been prosecuting same for over eight years without the AGF’s interference.

“Although after a no case submission filed by Goje, 19 of the 21 counts making up the N8 Billion were struck out by the court leaving only two counts bordering on the manner in which the sale of some old buses belonging to Gombe State Transport Company between 2003 and 2011 were handled under his watch.

“It was the said last two counts that the AGF thoroughly reviewed in 2019 and having found no prima facie case, withdrew in exercise of his constitutional power pursuant to Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution.

He said besides giving the EFCC conducive atmosphere to operate without exerting the might of his office on the Commission, many officers from the Chambers of the AGF are regularly seconded to the EFCC as representatives to work and help the EFCC in the war against corruption meaning that the AGF is part of the EFCC’s success story.

He said his attention has been drawn to news report with unprintable allegations on the matters related the fight against corruption in the country.

“The AGF found such allegations as not only a cheap blackmail but false, frivolous and baseless. We view this as machinations to cover up for the Transparency International’s (TI) biased and illogically cooked up 2019 Corruption Perception Index with poor rating of Nigeria.

“Notwithstanding the unfair rating of Nigeria by TI and the unguarded utterances of individuals who appeared to be a new voice of Nigeria opposition parties: this administration remains committed more than ever to the fight against corruption and other crimes in Nigeria.

“We are committed not only to the fight against corruption, but the fights against all other crimes that constitute danger to the lives and properties of Nigerians in line with the aspiration of the current administration.

“No matter how hard they strive to fight back, they will meet our equally firm and unshakable resistance.

He said that the convictions recorded by both the EFCC and ICPC in the last four years were made possible by the fact that the AGF provided a very conducive atmosphere for them to carry out their statutory duties without undue interference.

He said if AGF had watered down corruption cases since he assumed office as maliciously claimed in the report of TI, then all the convictions on corruption cases recorded by the EFCC would have been taken over and stopped by the AGF using his constitutional power of Nolle Prosequi.

“However, the AGF allowed the EFCC to thrive well due to his total commitment to the fight against corruption in line with the manifesto of President Muhammadu Buhari. (NAN)


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