After months of foot-dragging and pressure, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finally submitted details of the high profile cases being handled by the anti-corruption agency to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice based on request.
Sunday Punch quoted sources at the commission as saying that the list, sent to the AGF’s office a fortnight ago, 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.
It is understood that the judges mentioned in the list are different from those arrested by the State Security Services in October 2016.
It was also gathered that none of the judicial officers currently being prosecuted across the country is on the list.
Also on the list are some former governors, one of whom is currently serving as a minister in the President Muhammadu 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 $2.1bn arms purchase scam.
Although, the sources refused to reveal the identities of the high-profile suspects on the list because of “possible negative implications such revelation could have on ongoing investigations”, they informed the news outlet that the cases were at various stages.
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 at the stage of charges being drafted while some are already ongoing in court but foot-dragging,” a source at the EFCC said.
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.”