How Buhari’s AGF Intimidated Saraki, Ekweremadu, Refused to Tender Apology

By Aiyeku Timothy July 14, 2016 04:00

How Buhari’s AGF Intimidated Saraki, Ekweremadu, Refused to Tender Apology

The Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami, finally appeared before the Senate, on Wednesday, July 13, to defend the government’s forgery charges against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.

This is coming, after threats by the Senate to clamp down on him, for his refusal to honour their summon on two occasions.

Malami, was asked to appear before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, to “explain and justify with evidence”, the basis for the charges against Saraki and Ekweremadu.

The two heads of the red chamber were accused of conspiring with two National Assembly officials to forge the Senate’s Rules and are currently facing trial in the court of law.

Related: Tension as AGF Storms National Assembly, Over Buhari’s Impeachment Plot

However, facing the Committee on Wednesday, headed by Senator David Umaru and other members, Malami, insisted on not going back on the trial, adding that he acted in the public interest, and without abuse of his office.

A member of the Committee, Joshua Lidani, had argued that there was an issue of conflict of interest, as Malami was the Lawyer representing Senators who were aggrieved with Saraki’s election.

Those Senators filed the complaint accusing Saraki and his Deputy, of falsifying the Senate Rules.

However, the AGF denied bias, and said the case predated his appointment as Minister on November 12, 2015, noting that the investigation was concluded four months before his appointment, and that he was duty bound to continue with the matter.

“I only inherited a concluded investigative report,” said Mr. Malami.

Quoting the Senate Order, Malami reminded the Senators that a matter in court should not be entertained by the legislative body.

Asked why Saraki and Ekweremadu were not questioned during investigations before the matter went to court, and why the two Senators were charged when their names were not mentioned in the proof of evidence, the Attorney General said he could not comment, as he was a party in the case.

The Senators said the Constitution empowers the Senate to regulate its internal affairs, including the matters arising from the controversial Senate Rules.

Defending the “amendment” of the 2015 Rules, a Committee member, Chukwuma Utazi, said “I wish to refer the AGF to Section 64 (1), which dissolves the Parliament after 4 years”.

He said the Rules stood invalid at the end of the session, and the Senate could amend the documents handed to them by the bureaucracy.

Nevertheless, Malami, said the alteration of Senate Rules 2015, did not conform to valid procedures, insisting that an offence was committed in the process.

Without direct reference to the investigative report, Malami told the Senators that the “amendment” of the 2015 Senate Order did not follow the legally valid procedure.