HEDA accuses AGF of interfering in ‘critical’ corruption cases

Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) on Sunday accused the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, SAN, of frustrating critical corruption cases through “undue interference.”

The rights group said the AGF’s office should be in the forefront of the campaign against corruption, adding that the fight against graft and impunity “suffers defeat when the AGF consistently tows a pattern that leaves many with the impression that the fight against corruption has political coloration or can be compromised through his office”.

HEDA’s Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju in a statement today urged the AGF to stop opposing the anti-graft efforts of security agencies.

“We are constrained to come out openly against what appears a clear attempt by the AGF to put a clog in the wheel of the anti-corruption drive.

“HEDA has in fact compiled several instances when the AGF gave impression that he is not on the same page with Nigerians in the anti-corruption movement”, Suraju said.

HEDA cites the trial of All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in Imo State, Hope Uzodinma as an example where the AGF allegedly aborted the request by a Federal High Court that the APC chief should appear in person.

The group said it was surprised that the AGF filed a suit to take over the case from the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property, SPIPRP even when Uzodinma had not taken a plea on the charge against him.

It added that the AGF also attempted to frustrate the recent prosecution of the Director General of Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Modibbo Kawu “through the usual antics of ‘taking over’ prosecution of a case extensively investigated by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

“If the AGF is not interested in bringing corruption to its knees, he should at least not do anything to obstruct the tide that is favoured to confront corruption headlong”, the statement added.

HEDA reiterated that the squabble over prosecution by the AGF gives the impression that the Federal Government “is confused and insincere with the anti-corruption crusade”.

“The AGF may have powers to take over any case, but this must be in the overall public interest. In this case, the AGF and the accused align in terms of political interests. It is on this basis that the AGF should not have shown what appears like a special interest in the case,” HEDA added.

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