Why AGF Shuns EFCC, Sends Corrupt Judges’ Cases to DSS

The Federal Ministry of Justice forwarded petitions against judges bordering on alleged corrupt acts to the Department of State Services (DSS) when the ministry discovered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to act on previous "sensitive" petitions as expected.

It was gathered that the problem between the agencies was caused by the inability of the anti-graft agency to speedily investigate some of the cases forwarded to it by the ministry.

An insider source cited a petition on the withdrawal of over N11billion from the account of Rivers State Government between October 2015 and February 2016. The details are shocking.

According to a report by The Punch, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, had, in March, 2016, directed the EFCC to investigate the withdrawal, which the ministry described as suspicious.

“From all indications, because of the EFCC’s seeming inaction on some of these cases, the ministry of justice has now resorted to forwarding the petitions to the DSS. Obviously the EFCC is not happy with this,” the source stated.

The relationship between the ministry and the anti-graft agency has actually not been cordial since President Muhammadu Buhari sent the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2016, to the National Assembly through the AGF earlier this year.

The EFCC definitely sees nothing good about the law, though it acknowledges that the extant Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (amended in 2012) needs to be amended again.

On the new law, the EFCC catalogued what it considered the many flaws of the new bill in a position paper, which it submitted to the National Assembly.

It pointed out in the paper that among others, “it is not advisable to pass the bill into law.”

The EFCC maintained that the passage of the bill into law would be inimical to Nigeria’s standing in the next round of mutual evaluation of the nation’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism by the relevant international bodies.

It is obvious from the issues raised by the commission that it is apprehensive that the bill seeks to whittle down some its powers under the EFCC Act. 

It was gathered on Wednesday that the EFCC was bitter because it was already investigating some of the judges, who were arrested by the DSS on Friday and Saturday.

It was also learnt the rivalry between the agencies came to a head when the EFCC allegedly opposed the takeover of the investigations of petitions against some judges, which it had already worked on.

A top government source, who confided in The Punch, said EFCC was also not favourably disposed to investigating some judges, who had assisted in speedy trial of cases instituted by the commission.

The source stated, “The point of disagreement came from the investigation into the petitions. While the EFCC thought that the DSS should steer clear of the petitions because it had already worked on them, the service and the Federal Ministry of Justice insisted that the commission was slow in its investigations.