Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, on Monday intensified his efforts to reopen some high profile cases which had since been investigated but yet to be prosecuted by the nation’s anti-corruption and other law enforcement agencies.
The minister and his representative met with a number of law enforcement agencies as part of his moves to reopen “abandoned” high profile criminal cases, or those “crawling or gone to sleep.” sources told our correspondent on Monday.
The PUNCH had exclusively reported that Malami, had written to the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Mr. Ekpo Nta, requesting the duplicate case files on the former governors.
Part of the AGF’s letter, sighted by our correspondent had indicated that the cases against the former governors had been investigated some years ago but charges were never filed against them.
The AGF, it was learnt, held a meeting with Nta at his office in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja on Monday and informed him that he had instructed the National Prosecution Coordination Committee to collate high profile criminal cases being handled by the commission.
Our correspondent also learnt that the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, was scheduled to be part of the meeting.
It was however learnt that the AGF decided to hold the meet with only Nta, since the EFCC boss failed to personally attend the meeting.
It was learnt that the Special Assistant to the President on Research/Special Project, Mr. Sylvester Imhanobe, also met with the representatives of the EFCC and some other law enforcement agencies at the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja, to brief them on the activities of the NPCC, on Monday.
Our correspondent gathered that the meeting between the AGF and Nta held simultaneously with the one held between Imhanobe and the representatives of the other law enforcement agencies.
The law enforcement agencies whose representatives met with the Imhanobe on Monday were the police, the EFCC and the Department of State Services.
Representatives of the Federal Inland Revenue Service also attended the meeting.
The meeting, which the AGF held with the ICPC boss held behind closed door, but our correspondent obtained a copy of the speech which the minister prepared for the meeting initially planned to involve the heads of the various agencies.
The speech was made available to our correspondent by the minister’s spokesperson, Mr. Salihu Isah.
The AGF indicated that he had tasked the NPCC to collate the list of all high profile cases, scrutinise the evidence and charges and analyse reports from investigation and prosecution teams engaged to handle the cases.
The AGF said, “The main objective of the National Prosecution Coordination Committee is to monitor the prosecution of high profile criminal cases in Nigeria, so as to advise me on the exercise of my prosecutorial powers in sections 150 and 174 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“To achieve this objective, I have tasked the NPCC with the following:
“Collate the list of all high profile criminal cases;
“Scrutinise the evidence and charges, and
“Receive and analyse reports from investigation and prosecution teams engaged to handle such cases.
“In order to deliver on the aforementioned mandate, I have also directed the NPCC to do the following:
“Assess/review the status of the prosecution of existing (and “abandoned”) high profile criminal cases initiated by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation and all other federal agencies exercising prosecutorial powers.
“Assess/review the performance and conduct of counsel of counsel in the prosecution of the cases particularly in respect of high profile cases ‘crawling on gone to sleep’;
“Advocacy assessment of prosecuting counsel of high profile criminal cases in court to monitor capacity, competence, performance and progress of the cases.”
The PUNCH had reported that the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; a factional Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sheriff; and Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, were among 31 former governors whose corruption cases investigated by the anti-graft agencies are likely to be re-opened soon.