Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, yesterday took a swipe at the Professor Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, which accused him of not being upright in the anti-graft war. Sagay and some PACAC members, including Professor Femi Odekunle, all condemned the AGF, accusing him of not effectively prosecuting the Muhammadu Buhari anti-corruption war.
Replying them, however, in a statement yesterday, Malami said he was committed to the fight, and expressed disappointment that the claim was coming from those who ought to know.
In a statement by his spokesperson, Salihu Othman Isah, the minister also said he had “directed that a Notice of Appeal be lodged against the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal acquitting and discharging false assets declaration case preferred against the Senate President Bukola Saraki.”
Saraki was discharged and acquitted by the Code of Conduct Tribunal for want of evidence, a development that drew some flak from the presidential panel on anti-corruption.
Responding, the OAGF said: “The attention of the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to a publication in the PUNCH Newspaper of 18 June, 2017 titled, ‘Buhari’s anti-corruption panel lambasts Presidency, Judiciary…says AGF, others not serious about graft war’, attributed to the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption in which the commitment of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation towards the war against corruption was questioned.
“To say that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN frowns at the statement is an understatement. In fact, he is highly disappointed that such accusation and statement could be made by those who ought to know better.
“The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is saddened and flummoxed at the attempt to cast aspersion on his integrity, dedication and commitment to the war against corruption which undoubtedly is one of the major cornerstones of the present administration.
“There is no gainsaying that the incumbent Attorney General of the Federation has shown and demonstrated so much passion, drive, will and enthusiasm in prosecution of transgressors of the law ever seen in the annals of this country.
“The truth of the matter is that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is totally, fully and completely committed, dedicated and supports the war against corruption in all its form and ramification.”
“Towards this end, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, since his assumption of office, has initiated numerous reforms and programmes to drive the war against corruption, including the recently launched National Anti-Corruption Strategy, 2017.
“The National Anti-Corruption Strategy plan is a five-year strategy plan to combat corruption and corrupt tendencies in the country to the barest minimum. It is the first of its plan in the history of the country.
“The Honourable Attorney of the Federation wishes to assure Nigerians that despite some recent setbacks recorded in some of the cases involving politically exposed people; that the war against corruption is fully on course.
“It shall be fought resolutely, painstakingly, doggedly, purposefully and determinedly with all the constitutional and legal arsenals at the disposal of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The Federal Government is more than ever before committed towards the complete eradication of the scourge of corruption and graft in the country.
“In this regard, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation has directed that a Notice of Appeal be lodged against the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal acquitting and discharging false assets declaration case preferred against the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.
“And to those in a hurry to condemn due to the temporary setbacks recorded lately, they should tarry awhile because a legal process is deemed not concluded until it terminates at the Supreme Court which is the highest court of arbitration in Nigeria,” the statement added .