Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nigeria's Attorney-General on rogue Governors

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Nigeria's Attorney-General on rogue Governors

Indications have emerged that some former governors accused of gross abuse of office allegedly hid their loot underground.
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EFCC Boss, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), gave the hint in an exclusive interview with Sunday Punch in Abuja two weeks ago in his office.

Though he did not give further details on the public officers involved and the specific location of their loot, he said the Federal Government was exploring all necessary and legitimate means to retrieve looted funds.

Aondoakaa marvelled at the alleged antics adopted by some former public officers in trying to shield their loot from the prying eyes of EFCC operatives.

He explained that every corrupt former public official, including ex-governors, would have to defend himself or herself over the charges against them.

He said, ”This is ongoing; if we arraign someone on specific charges at one time, that does not mean that we cannot press other charges with further evidence. Do you know how these people hide the money? Sometimes, it‘s even in places where we cannot even reach. It‘s only when people like you give us information.

“Assuming that we discover now that there are other assets somewhere, new charges will arise. We are pursuing an ongoing process; these are the most difficult sets of people when it comes to the hiding of money. Do you know that some of their money is hidden underground? If we discover such, we will go there.”

He allayed public fears over the issue of plea bargaining, saying the government would not compromise on its decision to recover all looted funds.

He said the government took account of national interest in adopting the necessary legal and constitutional strategies in the current battle to recover such funds.

He said, “You have to look at the national interest. In prosecution, the role of the law for the attorney general is to carry out prosecution in the public interest. Sometimes, this public interest could be on the issue of security or other matters. We do not discuss security issues on the pages of newspapers. If you look at Section 174 of the constitution, the EFCC is prosecuting as an agent of the Attorney-General of the Federation and anything it does is on the directions of the Attorney-General. If the EFCC goes outside the Attorney-General‘s directives, they will be cautioned. The Attorney-General has the power to take over the prosecution of cases.

“Things have to be done in the public interest. Take for instance, if we discover a governor with about $30m in an account, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who has been doing a good job, goes to the man and, says, ‘look, this is what we found.’ The man shows remorse and says, ‘sorry sir, it‘s the devil’s work,’ and thereafter, brings back the money without stress.

”We are going to use that money in the public interest. We will now consider his case in the public interest and give him what we feel will be in public interest. However, if a former governor says no, he will not refund the money; I will still have to take from the taxpayers‘ money to pursue him,” he said.

When asked if it was enough for a corrupt former governor to forfeit a fraction of his loot and regain his freedom, the minister said that was not the case under the ongoing war against corruption.

“What I can assure you is that in all this (plea bargaining) process, we are abiding by the provisions of the constitution. I believe that you should commend this office and the EFCC. All the people that we have taken to court got there within 48 hours (of being charged). They were given opportunities and they even had their supporters there.

“It was like a political jamboree, which ordinarily I would not have allowed. But we felt we should give them that opportunity and let nobody say that we stopped anybody. Their supporters were in court, even shouting as if nothing happened. But we felt that this is a civilised country, let them have free access.”


tz paco said...

Look at this funny clown. Talking to Nigerians as if we are babies, his children at home. He is very stupid and I do not blame him, it is the fault of that chemistry teacher Obasanjo imposed on us. Somebody must tell this fool that we know it is that crook and infamous thief Ibori who nominated him to be Justice minister. Imagine and now he is taking the credit for EFCC's good behaviour and adherence to rule of law. Priming himself to be in a position to give EFCC orders. Waka! A thief must always look for fellowship with thieves like himself, this so-called justice minister is part of one and the same game as Ibori and nothing good can come out of that office as long as he remains there.

This his later day 'belief' and 'conviction in the rule of law is because it serves his purpose well just like plea bargaining. It is all a set-up for Ibori to release some chicken change so that he can tell us "you see, the man has repented o!" Ibori is the man's godfather and protector, he cannot go to the toilet without Ibori's permission. How can he recognize Yar'Adua as his boss when he knows his oga, Ibori, brought the stolen Niger Delta money that made him President.

All of them can never die well.

AC Okeke said...

Lets take ie easy with Yar'Adua. He needs time to settle down and consolidate or he will bw overwhelmed by unfolding events. I am sure there is no way this man can remain in that office as AG and by now Yar'Adua must realize he is being taken for a ride by these people. Let us clam down and watch him first.

Abel Woku said...

Calm down for how long? That is the problem, everyday, calm down, calm down, till when? For the past 40 yrs + we have been calming down and see the result. We must organize to put an end to all this rubbish and not to calm down. These thieves are the reason Nigeria is like this. Look at our roads, our schools, our hospitals. No power supply, no portable drinking water, no gas and no jobs and people are saying calm down, for what? Please, if people do not have reasonable something to say they should shut up and keep quiet.

Nonso said...

All wolves in sheep's clothings, they all belong to the same gang of robbers like Anini and Monday Osunbor and like them they should all equally be tied to a stake and shot at Bar beach.