Saraki, Ekweremadu forgery case: AGF is partisan, says Senate

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The Senate yesterday described Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) as partisan, in the forgery case he is prosecuting against Senate President Bukola Saraki and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, in a statement accused Malami of having “personal and pecuniary interest in the case as he was a counsel to the aggrieved Senators who decided to externalise the issue of election of the leadership of the upper chamber of the National Assembly after they failed in their bid to get their preferred candidate elected.”

Abdullahi described Malami as “the one who advised his clients to report the matter to the Police and now that he has become AGF, he decided to use his constitutional powers to pursue private interest by filing a criminal case in the FCT High Court against the subsisting ruling of a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction.”

The statement added: “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.

“That is in spite of the fact that the AGF is responsible to the President who appointed him.
“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 the 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.
“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.”

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