By Vivian Okejeme
The Federal Government has in separate letters queried the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Festus Keyamo over the corruption charges they filed against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Mr. Danladi Yakubu Umar.
Magu, in the query signed by the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Mr. Dayo Apata, with reference number DPP/ADV: 368/15, was ordered to make his response to the query available to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Justice on or before (today) Tuesday, February 20, 2018.
According to the query, dated February 16, 2018, Magu is to explain the reason for filing the corruption charges against the CCT Chairman after being cleared of corruption allegations two times by the same Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The query titled “FRN VS Danladi Umar (CR/109/18) request for Briefing,” reads in part: “The attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation was drawn to news report that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed charges of corruption against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Hon. Justice Danladi Umar, before the FCT High Court.
“I am directed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation to seek clarification from you as to whether the charges were filed on your instruction or directive; and if in the affirmative, what is the compelling basis for doing so? This clarification becomes imperative in view of the following background facts:
“The Commission’s investigation report dated 5th March 2015 addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation stated as follows: “The facts as they are now against Justice Umar raised a mere suspicion and will therefore not be sufficient to successfully prosecute for the defence.
“The Commission’s position in paragraph 2(a) above was also maintained and sustained by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation while appearing before the House of Representatives’ Investigative Committee sometimes in 2015 to the effect that report of investigations showed that the allegations against Hon. Justice Danladi Umar were based on mere suspicions.
“In view of the foregoing, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation requests for your prompt briefing as to the existence of new facts which are contrary to the position in your attached investigation report, sufficient evidence or other developments upon which the prosecution of Hon. Justice Danladi can be successfully based.
“Kindly accord this letter top priority while your prompt response within 48 hours from the receipt of same is required in the circumstances.”
Also, in a separate letter, the AGF asked Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN, to respond in writing, on or before Tuesday February 20 2018(Today) confirm who authorized him to file the corruption charge against Umar.
The letter to Keyamo with reference No DPP/ADV:369/15 dated February 16, 2018, reads in parts:
“The attention of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation was drawn to news report that you have filed charges of corruption against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Hon. Justice Danladi Umar, before the FCT High Court.
“The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation hereby requests that you kindly furnish this office with the details of the instruction or authorization upon which you instituted the case under reference. Kindly accord this letter top priority while your prompt response on or before Tuesday, February 20, 2018 is solicited in this regard.”
It will be recalled that, the EFCC had on February 2, brought a two-count charge against Umar bordering on alleged receipt of N10million bribe from one Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo in the charge signed by Festus Keyamo as a private prosecuting counsel and one Offem Uket an official of EFCC.
In the charge sheet, Umar was accused of receiving N1.8million through his Personal Assistant, Gambo Abdullahi for a favour to be afterwards shown to the petitioner who was standing trial for a criminal offence before the tribunal.
Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory High Court Abuja, has fixed March 15, for arraignment of the CCT boss.