Attorney General, EFCC clash over withdrawal of fraud case

Former Attorney-General, Bello Adoke

The office of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, clashed with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Friday at an Ikeja High Court, Lagos, over the former’s insistence on withdrawing an ongoing fraud case.

D.E Kaswe, representing Mohammed Adoke, the Attorney General of the Federation, had applied for a “No case submission” in a pending N247 million suit against five ex-officials of the Lagos Trade Fair Complex.

The EFCC, in 2013, arraigned Bassey Eyamba, Francis Dajilak, Lazarus Okocha, Barnabas Kolo and Eunice Okafor before Justice Kudirat Jose on a 20 count charge of conspiracy and stealing.

According to the EFCC, the defendants had between January 2009 and December 2011 fraudulently obtained various sums of money belonging to their employer by renting and selling some plots of land owned by the Trade Fair Complex.

However, on Friday, Mr. Kaswe, citing Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, informed Justice Jose that the AGF’s Chambers had filed a notice of discontinuance before the court.

“In the exercise of his powers, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation has entered a nolle proseque in this matter,” Mr. Kaswe said.

“I therefore urge Your Lordship to deem the notice as proper and the court should discontinue the suit.”

The AGF’s notice left a bewildered Anslem Ozioko, the EFCC lawyer, scrambling to stamp the Commission’s authority as the prosecutor.

“Nothing was served on us at the commission,” he said. “I submit that the EFCC is still prosecuting this matter. The files are still with us and we are ready to proceed. We are aware that the AGF has power to enter a nolle proseque but is it limited to federal enactments. The matter before the court is stealing and it is only the Lagos State Attorney General that can enter a nolle proseque in this matter.

“Section 211 (a) of the 1999 Constitution is clear with respect to this matter. It is only the Lagos AG and not the AGF that can enter nolle proseque with respect to this suit. The EFCC has the fiat of Lagos State Attorney General to prosecute this matter and that fiat has not been withdrawn.”

The judge adjourned the matter till November 26th for ruling.

A strange move

Entering a nolle proseque in a matter that the party filing the application has not even seen the case file is “strange,” Victor Opara, a lawyer, told journalists after Friday’s proceedings.

“It is surprising that a nolle proseque could be entered in a matter EFCC is prosecuting without the Federal Government taking the commission into confidence,” said Mr. Opara, counsel to the civilian complainant.

“The EFCC denied knowledge of the application, and what that suggests to me is that there are no inter-prosecutorial meeting before the AGF decided to introduce that application.

“My submission with respect is that the power of AGF to discontinue is akin to public interest which must be exercised on grounds of overriding public interest. The current AGF is a man of impeccable character.”


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  • Kayode A. Esquire

    Editor Sir,

    Nigeria has no federal attorney-general. Mohammed Adoke is a waste of space.
    Mohammed Adoke is more known for subverting the prosecution of all thieves.
    His appointment by President Jonathan betrayed a corrupt mindset from outset.
    No country desiring probity will handover its justice system to Mohammed Adoke.

  • Olu Ade

    From their rank and file they are now following Oga at the Top’s 1st commandment- “stealing is not corruption.” Wonders keep happening in my own dear native land….in brotherhood we trust….May God save Nigeria from self destruction.

  • Abdurrazaq

    Adoke, Adoke, the learned silk!

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      Adoke is a disgrace to the profession he professes.

      • Tunsj

        Maybe they paid him off.

      • Chima

        That is a serious conclusion. I hope you got facts.

        • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

          Chima, his antecedents speaks for him.

          • Chima

            @Kay, I believe if you demand respect for your opinions it has to be constantly based on facts. If not your comments will be like one of the motley comedians and charlatans in this forum. Adoke has breached any known aspect of our laws, if he has the affected should petition the courts. But it is not okay to make those comments like your previous comments.

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            So, Chima, how do you define his role in the Malabu Oil deal?

            Political exigencies?

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            And that was only one instance!

            Do you want us to take a toothpick to the many instances of plea bargains in corruption cases by EFCC under his tenure or would you argue that “plea bargains” are recognised under Nigeria Laws?

          • Adejumobi

            In the Malaba OPL 245 scam Mohammed Adoke is an accused criminal in law.

  • OLUFEMI ADENIYI

    THIS ATTORNEY GENERAL IS KNOWN FOR WITHDRAWING HIGH PROFILE FRAUD AND CORRUPTION CASES. WE HAVE NEVER HAD THIS TYPE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE HISTORY OF NIGERIA. IT IS ONLY UNDER THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN THAT THIS TYPE THING CAN HAPPEN. NIGERIA WE ARE VERY UNLUCKY TO HAVE THESE TYPE OF LEADERS.

    • Gregory

      @Adeniyi:

      Assess President Jonathan by Mohammed Adoke; and, vote Jonathan out in 2015 as corrupt!

  • Mohstone

    Afterall the charges are “Conspiracy and STEALING” …. in GEJ’s govt STEALING is not a crime. SO the the looters and thieves are free.

    • Chima

      Correction please: Stealing is not corruption

      • Mohstone

        But so far have you seen anybody punished for stealing??? If yes give me examples and don’t tell me about someone who stole vegetables and sentenced to 10 years in prison. You know the examples I want. If no, then am right: stealing is not a crime in GEJ’s govt

  • Truthometer

    Adoke has taken his own share already. Why should there be any case?

  • obinnna77

    Enuff said, Sir.