Forgery Case: We have Been Vindicated–Senate | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Forgery Case: We have Been Vindicated–Senate

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Posted: Jul 4, 2016 at 6:16 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Senate on Sunday said that it has been vindicated by a Federal High Court which affirmed its position that the forgery case instituted against its presiding officers is an abuse of court process by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

Senator Abdullahi Aliyu Sabi, Senate spokesperson, stated this in a statement in Abuja.

The Senate had summoned the AGF twice to proffer explanations to why it initiated the case against the defendants. But the AGF shunned the invitations, arguing that he is not answerable to the red chamber.

Reacting to the wide attacks hurled at it by individuals and various institutions on the subject matter, the Senate insisted it was right to challenge the AGF for encroaching into its internal affairs, exploiting its official power to pursue a personal goal and making himself non-answerable to the highest law-making body in the country.

“When the Senate invited the AGF to come and throw light on the forgery case, it was not to challenge his right to file, take over or discontinue any criminal case but for him to explain the issues of conflict of interest, abuse of office, disrespect of a subsisting order of a court and violation of the principle of separation of powers which are being raised against him.

“When his supporters jumped up and started abusing the Senate over the invitation, we know our position that an Attorney General and indeed any public officer for whose office public funds are appropriated can be invited by the Senate and the House of Representatives to explain certain issues, is on firm, constitutional ground. And that is in spite of the fact that the AGF is responsible to the president who appointed him. Now, the revelations from the ruling of the court of competent jurisdiction have shown that this AGF has a lot to explain to the public, if not to his appointer,” the statement said.

The Senate said the revelations from the ruling of the court of competent jurisdiction have shown that the AGF has a lot to explain to the public, if not to his appointer.

According to the red chamber, “It says a lot about an AGF who despite being aware that the court had ordered him and the Inspector of General of Police not to take any further action on the matter during the pendency of the civil suit still went ahead to initiate the criminal case on the police report which is the subject of the civil case. The judge rightly described Malami’s action as “desperate haste that was not in public interest”.

“It should be noted that Malami’s name is still on the list of lawyers defending Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi and others in the Federal High Court. We invite all Nigerians, including those shouting over whether it was right for Senate to invite the AGF or not, to read the ruling of Justice Kolawole and conclude whether Malami is still fit to be AGF in a government which canvasses change and rule of law.”

The Senate said it is inviting all Nigerians, including those shouting over whether it was right for Senate to invite the AGF or not, to read the ruling of Justice Kolawole and conclude whether Malami is still fit to be AGF in a government which canvasses change and rule of law.

“Our position as a law-making chamber is that the Office of AGF is a sensitive and strategic one being the only other office in the executive arm apart from that of president and vice president to which the constitution specifically assigns some roles and powers. It must therefore be occupied by a sober, law abiding, brilliant, mature, broad-minded and less partisan lawyer.

“Mr. Malami is yet to convince us with his handling of this case that he possesses these attributes. We call on him to respect the ruling of the court and to redeem the integrity of his office and admit his error by invoking his power under Section 174 (1) as noted in the ruling of the honourable judge.

“In conclusion, the Senate is calling on all parties, Mr. Malami, the Attorney General inclusive, to heed the wise, timely and apt advice of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar that “it is time to move on”. Truly, Nigeria needs our collective energy to address the various challenges – notably increasing poverty, hunger, youth unemployment, general insecurity and kidnapping, among others – which are time bombs that we can only ignore at our own collective peril,” the Senate said.

The ruling in question was issued by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court who upheld that the AGF did not follow due process in admitting the two-count forgery charge against the defendants.