Group writes Buhari, wants AGF to take over corruption trial of ex-govs

By Ese Awhotu

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has said that, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN should take over the corruption trial of former state governors.
SERAP has therefore sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari urging him to use his “good offices and leadership position to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN to without delay take over and expeditiously prosecute grand corruption cases involving all indicted former state governors and to prosecute indicted serving governors at the expiration of their tenure as governors.”
The organisation said “the trial of several former state governors accused of corruption and money laundering have continued to linger in different high courts in the country. Some of the grand corruption cases involving former governors started in 2007 are yet to properly commence.”
According to a press release posted by Premium Times online yesterday, in the letter dated October 5 and signed by SERAP deputy director, Timothy Adewale, the organisation said, “We are concerned that the continuing delay in the prosecution of former governors suspected of committing acts of grand corruption to logical conclusion has sent a negative message that the governors are untouchable. The delay is also contributing to perception among Nigerians that many of these influential and powerful past governors are being protected by the power and political set up.”
According to the organisation, “instructing the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN to take over and directly and expeditiously prosecute all cases of grand corruption involving former governors, would be entirely consistent with his duties under the constitution, and contribute to upholding the majesty of law and vindicating the rule of law.”
The organisation warned that, “should the Attorney General not take over the cases of corruption against all past corrupt governors as requested, SERAP would, on account of the public interest involved, and to ensure that no further time is lost in the completion of these cases, consider appropriate legal action to compel the authorities to discharge their constitutional duties, consistent with the basic tenet of the rule of law, the concept of equality and the cause of justice.”
The statement read in part: “the continuing delay in the prosecution of former governors alleged to have committed acts of corruption is a significant factor contributing to impunity of those engaging in grand corruption, thereby posing a serious threat to probity in public life, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The delay in the prosecution of former governors who no longer enjoy constitutional immunity also suggests that they are above the law.”
“Nigerians deserve to see the prosecution of all indicted former governors to logical conclusion if your government is to demonstrate the credibility of its commitment to combat grand corruption and eliminate any impression of bias or lack of fairness in the fight against corruption. Everyone accused of corruption should be brought to justice in accordance with the law and irrespective of the height at which those involved are placed in the power and political set up.”

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