Attorney-General says no one would be spared in fight against graft
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has thrown his weight behind the Department of State Services (DSS) over the arrest of allegedly corrupt people.
The AGF, who was speaking on the reaction of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on the clampdown on judges in the country, also declared that no individual or arm of government would be spared in the fight against corruption.
According to him, nobody should be exempted from being investigated, including the President, Vice President, governors and their deputies, who are covered by the immunity clause under Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution.
Malami, who spoke yesterday shortly after he inaugurated a committee for the second cycle of the review of implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), stressed that so long as there was an allegation of crime against anybody, he or she can be investigated no matter how highly-placed, as no one is above the law.
He said that the fundamental consideration should be whether there is an allegation of a commission of a crime and the need for investigation as well as adherence to the relevant provisions, and indeed all circumstances of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act in the conduct of the fight against corruption.
He said: “The bottom-line is that we have a responsibility to fight corruption. Corruption is a crime and nobody, regardless of how highly-placed, is exempted as far as issues that border on crimes and criminalities are concerned.
“The limited exceptions we know constitutionally are the exceptions of immunity.“So, I think the frame-work and the circumstances within which we are operating are clearly whether there exists the right to investigate or whether there is none, and whether the action borders on criminality.
“Once crimes and criminality are concerned, nobody is an exception. I think the undertone should be exclusively the consideration of existence of a prima facie case, existence of reasonable grounds for suspicion of commission of a crime.”
He said that the review, which focused on chapters two and five of UNCAC relating to preventive measures against graft in the public and private sectors and asset recovery, was necessary, especially now that corruption has created a great disconnect between nation’s wealth and quality of life of ordinary citizens.
The AGF, therefore, charged the committee to be transparent and efficient in carrying out its mandate.