A Senior Advocate of Nigeria Mr Femi Falana has called out the Attorney-General & Minister Of Justice, Abubakar Malami for meeting with the embattled former chairman of the Presidential Task Force On Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina.
In an interview with Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent, Mr Falana also debunked the allegations that he benefitted from any property seized by Mr Maina.
He called on the Attorney-General to substantiate the allegations or issue a public apology.
“What they claim was that a Lagos lawyer had bought a house recovered by the pension reform task force, handed over to the EFCC, because a similar ridiculous allegation was made last year July – that was why I challenged the Attorney-General to prove the allegation and I did say he was referring to me because last year July, following a view I expressed in respect of section 171 of the Constitution, regarding the appointment of the heads of parastatals to defect that the Senate does not have to confirm such appointments; a scandal broke out.
“At that time I was alleged to have bought from the EFCC, one of the properties recovered by former governor DSP Alamiayesigha of Bayelsa state – again, the property was said to be worth a billion Naira so when I learnt of the property recovered by Maina not by EFCC this time, and handed over to me but by Maina, given to the EFCC and sold to me, of course, I knew.
“He was trying to point accusing fingers at me and that was why I challenged him and up till now the honourable Attorney General of the country and Minister of justice who made such a reckless allegation has not attempted to take up my challenge of proving the allegation.”
“I was worried for our country, that the Attorney General, the Chief Law officer of the country traveled out to hold a meeting with a fugitive from the law. Not just a man who has been declared wanted by Nigerians but by the international police (Interpol). You expose Nigeria to ridicule. If these guys are looking for this fugitive from the law, how come the Chief Law officer of that country is holding meetings with him and the State Security Service of the country is providing security for him, having entered the country illegally – I can’t understand it.”
Speaking about calls for an amendment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, which the AGF believes will aid the anti-corruption fight, the lawyer said it was completely unnecessary and that rather, what is needed is proper coordination between the anti-graft bodies and the office of the AGF.
“Frankly speaking the EFCC Act does not require any amendment in the fight against corruption.
“What is required is the political will and coordination on the part of the anti-graft agencies and the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation – no more, no less.
“I’m aware there are moves to set up the Financial Intelligence Unit as a separate body which is totally unnecessary. Whereas, the Steve Oransanye committee had actually recommended a merger of the anti-graft agencies to save funds for the country but now we are being told that we need to set up another agency and the whole purport is to prevent the EFCC from monitoring the movement of funds by members of the political class.
“Such a move cannot be and is not geared towards enhancing the capacity of the anti-graft agency,” he stressed.