Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke
Muhammad Bello in Abuja
The Federal Government is set to commence the trial of oil marketers indicted in the report of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on the Monitoring of the Fuel Subsidy Scheme, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, said yesterday in Abuja.
Adoke told State House reporters after a tripartite meeting attended by leaders and representatives of the executive, legislature and judiciary on the issue of corruption in the country, that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had nearly completed its investigations and this would pave the way for the commencement of the trial of those indicted in the ad hoc committee’s report.
Adoke said: “The issue of the report was not discussed as an issue but assurances were given that as soon as the EFCC finishes its assignment, which is very soon, that you will begin to see prosecution probably in the next one week.
“We will begin to prosecute because the EFCC has gone very far. So Nigerians should be rest assured that this is not an issue that will be swept under the carpet. We have gone this far because we want a proper and painstaking investigation done so that when we charge people to court there will be no lapses or loopholes for lawyers to explore."
President Goodluck Jonathan, on receiving the report of the ad hoc committee from the House leadership, had directed Adoke to forward it to the EFCC for thorough investigation with a view to bringing to justice oil marketers that had abused the fuel subsidy scheme.
THISDAY learnt yesterday’s meeting was at the instance of the president to secure cooperation from other arms of government with a view to fashioning out a fresh strategy to tackle corruption in the country.
The meeting, which held for over two hours, addressed the issue of how to tackle corruption in the polity, the constitutional lacuna that militates against eliminating graft and the constraints the judiciary faces in addressing corruption cases.
According to Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ndoma Egba, the meeting, the first of its kind, deliberated on how the three arms of government could work in harmony in fighting corruption.
Egba told State House correspondents that the president was worried by the pervasiveness of corruption and the difficulties being experienced in the efforts to combat it.
“The president’s initiative is unprecedented, getting the three arms of government to sit in one meeting and the subject matter of discussion was the issue of corruption and how the three arms could work together to stem the worrying incident of corruption in our polity.
"The president is obviously worried about the incidence of corruption and from discussions we had, all the arms of government are indeed worried about the incidence of corruption in our society.
“And we looked at the challenges we are facing in the fight against corruption and some of these issues are constitutional. So the National Assembly will take another look at these issues.
“The judiciary also gave its own insight into the constraints; all of these will be addressed. The issue of funding of the agencies, especially the EFCC and the ICPC was also discussed, all of these issues will be addressed,” Egba said.
Those present at the meeting included Jonathan; Vice-President Namadi Sambo; Senate President David Mark; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal; Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Dahiru Musdapher; Secretary to Government of Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; Head of Service of the Federation, Bello Sali; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi; Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde; and acting Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Ekpo Nta.