Justice Ministry fumes, accuses EFCC of false allegations

Nigeria's Ministry of Justice, Abuja, Nigeria
Nigeria's Ministry of Justice, Abuja, Nigeria

The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has reacted to a statement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that information about its ongoing investigations were leaked after the commission made same available to the justice ministry.

In a statement on Friday signed by Mr. Malami’s special assistant on media and publicity, Salihu Isah, the justice minister said the EFCC was alleging that the leaked information was brought to the public domain by the Ministry of Justice. It added that such an allegation is “petty and unsavoury.”

”The attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has been drawn to a report in the media space insinuating that the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON and other former and serving government and judicial officers are under investigation for alleged corruption.

“The report also listed other high-profile Nigerians who it claimed are purportedly under investigation for corruption to include former Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, present Minister of Solid Minerals Development and former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, a sitting judge of the Federal High Court, Hon. Justice Abdu Kafarati, among others.

“The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice wishes to express his displeasure over the unfortunate and unbecoming innuendo by certain persons and agencies which sought to accuse his office of leaking what was termed as classified information to the public.

“This office therefore wish to state categorically, but with absolute repudiation, that it did not at any time leak such information to the media as wrongly alluded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The pertinent question to ask is since the EFCC has publicly denied that the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria is not under probe or investigation; is it then possible for the same EFCC to have forwarded any classified information on a non-existent probe or investigation of the Honourable CJN to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation? It also goes to show that the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation could not have leaked a non-existent classified information on an equally non-existent probe or investigation.

“The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice strongly frowns at any unsavoury attempt or conspiracy to drag his office and that of the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria into petty squabbles in the midst of burning national issues”.

The statement adds that the justice ministry would not tolerate any attempt at denigrating its principal officers and that Mr. Malami has profound respect of Mr. Onnoghen and the entire judiciary in Nigeria.

“We therefore use this opportunity to reaffirm our deep respect for the distinguished person and office of the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, and we will never be party to any unpatriotic effort to denigrate his exalted office. We wish to state unequivocally that the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation will continue to collaborate with His Lordship in his efforts to reform the judiciary and galvanise the anti-graft war. Indeed the present administration appreciates His Lordship for his unwavering support for its anti-corruption drive.

“We wish to state further that we are neither aware of nor privy to any purported probe or ongoing investigation of the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria by any security or anti-graft agency. The office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation dissociates itself from the baseless allusion or suggestion obviously made in bad faith to the effect that His Lordship is under any form of probe or investigation whatsoever.

“In view of the above, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice wishes to emphatically reiterate that he has profound confidence in the Chief Justice of Nigeria and wishes His Lordship the very best in the discharge or performance of his daunting duties to the nation at large.”

Reports published Wednesday by the Punch Newspaper had alleged that the EFCC was conducting investigation into cases of alleged fraud involving high profile persons numbering over a hundred.

The EFCC in its reaction, however, denied investigating Mr. Onnoghen but confirmed that it was indeed conducting an investigation of other politically exposed persons whose details had earlier been sent to the justice ministry.

“For the avoidance of doubt, cases under investigation communicated to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation by the Commission are classified information and it is troubling how such would be leaked to the media”, the EFCC said in its statement signed by the commission’s head of media and publicity, Wilson Uwujaren.


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  • Bash

    What exactly is this statement from AGF’s office clarifying? Isn’t the AGF also worried about the garrulous nature of SA to the president, Mr Obla, who is some way dragged EFCC into the fray? EFCC confirmed to have passed the classified info to the AGFs office, as confirmed by Mr Obla but denied having the CJN under investigation. So what’s all these statement on the CJN about?

  • Frank Bassey

    EFCC is a witch-hunt. EFCC cannot investigate Kayode Fayemi. That is a LIE. It is a cover-up. EFCC cannot investigate an APC leader who contributed to the election of PMB. It is impossible. Please, where is the report on Babachir Lawal and Ayodele Oke? Why is EFCC keeping mum on this and chasing opponents and critics of government. Why has nothing been said about the acidic exposure of IGP by Senator Isah Misau? Why is Rotimi Amaechi not obeying the court order to subject himself to the panel investigating his administration as Rivers Governor? I have said it. All those involved in selective fight against corruption must await their peril. NEMESIS is at work. Justice Ministry must not submit to the tyrannical dictatorship of anybody. This country belongs to us all.CJN, our brother will succeed.

    • Höly Wähala

      Great comment, can’t add even one word to all that you have said… Respect!
      My hope is that the motor-mouth Chairman of PACC and so-called Prof. Itsa Sagay reads your comment, I’m certain he too is covering up something for Ibrahim Magu, a man indicted by the same presidency that submitted his name but failed his Senate confirmation hearing on sloppy performance. This GON is a dud check, a sham and a mega-fraud-in-motion. This is far from what Nigerians bargained for when we opted for fresh air after 16yrs of PDP plunder. I tire oo!

  • Sword of Damocles

    Fun Task:

    Does anyone want to count how many times the term “Honorable” was used in this statement from the Justice Ministry? There is term in Psychology called projection, and this behavioral trait afflicts A LOT OF NIGERIANS. Nigeria’s situation is PROBLEMATIC. So much thievery, so much sycophancy, so much DISHONOR, a profound lack of CHARACTER , an obsession with FRIVOLOUS titles. Almost a childish belief that titles, what stolen wealth one has acquired makes the man/woman. It is all so disconcerting…….

    • Mufu Ola

      Can’t understand why Nigerian public officials are so obsessed with this “honorable” title.Like say they are cursed with it.

  • Intrepid

    Dog eat Dog. The buhari junta is a disaster. Confused and directionless. Nigeria has never had it so bad.

  • suleiman

    This is the very reason why Magu is not fit to hold the office of the EFCC Chairman. He has verbal diarrhea, indiscrete and unfit to hold public office. This is the reason why senate has refused to confirmed him. There is no reason why the president should continue to leave him in acting capacity for his entire presidency. This is one reason why the APC is going down come 2019. When a sitting governor in the person of the Aminu Waziri Tambwwal is regretting joining the APC just after two years of being governor, you know the party stinks. Me think that Tambwwal wished he had remained the speaker under the PDP had he known the rote in the APC. This is why I like the Igbo proverb that says only a man who is married to two wives can tell which one of them is the better cook. One by one, these former PDP members are going back to their roots, the very party that made them who they are today!