By Mike Ozekhome
All over the world, anti-graft agencies are honourable, respected, honest, nationalistic and fair to all suspects. They apply the law evenly. They do not witch-hunt or victimize citizens.
Some anti –graft agencies across the world
An anti-corruption agency is a special Police agency which specialises in fighting corruption. Most of such agencies are founded by statute, but some have a constitutional status. The EFCC and ICPC anti-corruption agencies are founded exclusively by statutes – the EFCC (Establishment) Act of 2004, and the ICPC Act of 2000.
In Argentina, we have the Oficina Anticorruption; Austria has the Bundesamt zur Korruptionsprävention und Korruptionsbekämpfung (BAK) Commission on Combating Corruption; in Azerbaijan, it is called Anti-Corruption General Directorate with the Prosecutor General; while in Bangladesh, it is known as Anti Corruption Commission (Bangladesh). Others are Burundi, Anti-corruption and Economic Malpractice Observatory; Cameroon, National Anti-Corruption Observatory; Canada, Quebec – Unité permanente anticorruption; China, Supervision Commission of the People’s Republic of China
Central Commission for Discipline Inspection; Mainland China, Ministry of Supervision Supreme People’s Procuratorate; Hong Kong, Independent Commission Against Corruption (Hong Kong); in Egypt, it is called Administrative Control Authority; while in India, it is called Central Vigilance Commission; in Indonesia, it is known as Corruption Eradication Commission; in Iraq, as Iraq Anti Corruption; in Jamaica, it is called Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency National Integrity Action.
Kenya calls it Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission; in Liberia, it is called Anti-Corruption Commission (Liberia); In Malaysia, it is called Anti-Corruption Commission (Malaysia); in New Zealand, Serious Fraud Office (New Zealand); in Pakistan, it is known as National Accountability Bureau; Poland has it as Central Anticorruption Bureau; Russia, in incomprehensivable letters, calls it ㎡㎋㎒㎑㎯㏛㎿㎒㏖㏖㏉㏁ ㎚㏅㎌㏀㏛㎒㏛ ㎠㏅㎯㎯㏀㏀, Saudi Arabia, as National Anti-Corruption Commission. In Singapore, it is Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau; while in South Africa, it is known as National Anti-Corruption Forum; South Korea, calls it Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission Korea Independent Commission Against Corruption (defunct); in Spain, it is called Servicio de Vigilancia Aduanera; In the United Kingdom, we have it as England Wales Serious Fraud Office (United Kingdom), Northern Ireland; finally, in Vietnam, we call it Central Steering Committee on Anti-corruption (Viet Nam); and in Zimbabwe, it is known as Anti-Corruption Commission (Zimbabwe).
In Nigeria, however, the opposite is the case. The anti-graft agencies are political tools in the hands of governments in power, to hunt down, browbeat, intimidate, coerce, harass and force allegiance from opposition, dissenters, critics of government and non-conformists. These temporary wielders, of power desire a state of absolutism, dictatorship, tyranny and even fascism.
They hold the judiciary in contempt and in torrerem. Judges who decide cases against them or their idiosyncratic predelictions are hounded and humiliated. Such is the case of Danladi Umar, the youthful chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), born only on August 19, 1971 and called to the Bar in 1992. When the trial of the Senate President commenced on September 11, 2015, the trial was as dramatic as it was sensational, only reminiscent of the trial of O.J Simpson in the US. Based on the hyped media trial of this high profile Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, the number 3 citizen of Nigeria, many Nigerians were unfortunately led to believe that he was already guilty as charged. They were not tutored to know that law is not based on sentiments, emotion or sensationalism; but, on cold hard facts that must pass the acid test of brutal cross examination and proof beyond reasonable doubt. And so, after few witnesses had testified, the CCT presided over by Danladi Umar exonerated and exculpated Saraki on 13 counts out of the 18 counts charges. The Executive branch of government was obviously misfed Saraki had been literally prepared for roasting, as there is no love lost between him and top notchers of the PMB government and APC leadership.
This is premised on the way and manner he outsmarted them to win the Senate presidency diadem on the Senate floor, in June, 2015, at a time the APC leadership had gathered at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, with the president, to impose their desired candidate. Since then, Saraki had never been in their good books.
What was Danladi Umar’s offence?
Only this: that he is highly principled, answered his God and responded to his conscience. He set free Saraki. There was bedlam. Danladi must himself be roasted and fried since he had the temerity to set free their major antagonist from judicial snares. They came for him. Pronto, EFCC filed criminal charges against Danladi for allegedly taking N1.8million bribe out of N10million he allegedly demanded for.
My earlier case against Danladi and EFCC’s defence of the cct, chairman
On November 6, 2016, I had filed a case against Danladi Umar, on the briefing and instructions of the Registered Trustees for Peace and Development Initiative, a registered non-governmental organisation. The Human Rights body wanted Umar to recuse himself from handling trial of Nigerians before the CCT, based on allegations of bribe taking. He had therefore fallen short of the Code of Conduct expected of Judicial Officers. Umar filed his defence, pleading and exhibiting letters written by the EFCC, which completely exonerated him of the bribery allegation.
Yes, EFCC defended him because he was still trying Saraki and he was expected to convict him. RFCC had, on 5th March, 2015, asddressed a letter to the SGF, Anyim Pius Anyim, stating that the facts against Umar were tenunous and based on “mere suspicion and will therefore not be sufficient to successfully prosecute for the defence. The then Honourable Attorney General, Bello Adoke, had also, during his appearance before the House of Representatives Investigative Committee, maintained
When I read these exculpatory letters and investigative report by the EFCC, I advised my clients to discontinue the case against Danladi, as I did not believe in sheer witch hunt and mud splashing, the very EFCC that should prosecute him, having given a clean bill of integrity health.
I had done the same thing in 2015, over PMB’s certificate saga. I was counsel to an NGO that urged his disqualification for allegedly not possessing the minimum qualification to contest the presidency. Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, (my fecund and erudite egbon in whom I am well pleased), led a blistering defence, leading other top notch SANs, such as Lateef Fagbemi, Emeka ngige, Taiwo Osupitan, etc..
When PMB won the elections even during the pendency of the case, I advised my clients to discontinue same so as not to serve as a distraction to Mr President in settling down. They agreed with me.
Thus, I applied for withdrawal of the case before the judge, Justice Niyi Ademola (rtd). The judge praised me profusely in open court for my uncommon spirit of patriotism and sense of professionalism, in withdrawing the case, even when it was clear that such would deprive me of some of my fees. Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, my brilliant friend, who led the defence that day also had some kind words for me. I thank them both.
So, why the new summersault by EFCC?
It is therefore a major surprise that the same EFCC will summersault like Esan Egbabonalimhi acrobats and arraign the same Umar. What new facts have emerged? From the charges, none. It is the old story. Thank God the Attorney General, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, has waded into save Nigeria this disgrace, this opprobrium, this Alawada Kerikeri histrionics of Baba Sala, by quering the EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu. Pray, leve Danladi Umar alone to do his job, for God’s sake.
When a hired mob failed to stop me from defending democracy in Nigeria (part 4)
Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, SAM, today in his own words, continues his right to defend any Nigerian that engages his services, irrespective of societal perception of such a person. Citing the laws that permitted him to do so (and he actually rejected the NBA’s directives not to appear before the Special Military Tribunals), he said as follows:
‘’The resolution is unconditutional in terms of decree no. 1 Of 1984 and finally, the resolution is a complete violation of the rules of professional conduct in the legal profession promulgated by the general council of the bar.’’
The illogicality and hypocrisy of the nigerian bar association:
The Nigerian Bar Association does not protest against the Attorney-General who drafted Decree No. 3 of 1984 and who is a member of the Bar. The Nigerian Bar Association has no complaint against prosecuting counsel in this Tribunal. These prosecuting Counsel are lawyers and members of the Nigerian Bar Association. The Nigerian Bar Association has no grouse against the Judges who are members of the Tribunal and who are themselves (first and foremost) lawyers. The timid and timorous Bar is afraid to raise a query against the Chief Justice of Nigeria who swore in all the members of the Tribunals. The Nigerian Bar Association members, including some selfishly wealthy private practitioners have carried their several years of legal practice before Court Martials to defend accused persons where no Judge is a member and where the Chairman and most of the members are Military Personnel. This is a Tribunal that has a power of life and death and the Bar is so timid to raise a query against it.
‘’How can the Bar attempt a lopsided discriminatory, timid and infantile hypocrisy in this matter? The Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Head of the Nigerian Legal System today and the Head of the Highest Disciplinary Body in Nigeria, acknowledged the Tribunal and swore in all the members of all the Tribunals and swore in all the members of all the Tribunals in the country. The Attorney-General of the Federation is the Head of the Nigerian Bar and he drafted the Decrees. The Nigerian Bar Association paid courtesy calls to him clinking wine glasses with him in his office. The Judges in these Tribunals are themselves lawyers. The prosecuting Counsel in these Tribunals are members of the Bar. Yet in its morbid and insensate hypocrisy, schizophrenic and chameleonic, diddling, swizzling and wangling the Nigerian Bar Association has no complaint against the Chief Justice, the Attorney-General, the Judges who are members of the Tribunals and prosecutors. Right thinking members of the Nigerian public, I leave the judgement to you to assess the resolution of the the Nigerian Bar Association passed on the 5th May, 1984.’’. (To be continued).
By a creative anonymous Nigerian
Rotimi Amaechi said that:
“Nigeria will go 10 steps backwards if APC loses in 2019”
Me: There are times when it is better to move backwards. If Nigeria moves ten steps backward, we will get back to when 1Dollar was N180;
When one bag of rice was N8,000; when goods and services were affordable;
When there was security of lives and properties and herdsmen were not killing people across the country, even on their farms and in their bedrooms;
If we move ten steps backward, we will get back to when 1litre of petrol was N87; when corruption was democratized for every Nigerian to enjoy, rather than now when it is prevatised for the cabal and few of their cronies to enjoy; when life was sweet; when education was cheap; And many more.
Please let us move 10 steps backward. (Anonymous)
It is better for us.
Get your PVS’s for this journey back into history.
Thought for the week
“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions”. (Harold S. Geneen).