How EFCC, AGF’s strange ‘romance’ saved Goje after surrendering Senate Presidency bid

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By Adejumo kabir

It appears Danjuma Goje’s recent decision to step down from contesting for the seat of the Senate President has begun to yield dividend.

On Friday, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation applied for the withdrawal of the two remaining corruption charges against him.

This was granted by the court and Mr Goje was discharged, after eight years of prosecution for alleged N25 billion fraud while serving as Gombe State governor.

Earlier, the anti-graft agency, the EFCC, surprisingly withdrew from the matter for the AGF to take charge, a day after Mr Goje met with President Muhammadu Buhari and accepted to cede his quest for the Senate Presidency, for Ahmed Lawan.

This unusual romance between the EFCC and the AGF attracted criticism from the public. Until now, the two agencies rarely got along on how best to fight corruption. They viewed each other with suspicion.

While the office of the AGF sees EFCC as overzealous, the office of the AGF, in the EFCC’s estimation, lacks the commitment to fight corruption.

Past Rivalry between the EFCC and AGF

In November 2018, the EFCC vehemently resisted the AGF from taking over the trial of a businessman, John Abebe, at the Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos State.

Mr Abebe, younger brother to former first lady, Stella Obasanjo, was arraigned before Justice Mojisola Dada on a four-count charge of forgery, fabricating evidence and attempt to pervert the course of justice.

The EFCC accused Mr Abebe to have, on June 22, 2010, forged a letter dated November 30, 1995, and belonging to BP Exploration Nigeria Limited to that of his company, Inducon Nigeria Limited.

Also, in March 2016, the EFCC and the AGF also disagreed at the Federal High Court in Lagos over who to prosecute the case involving 16 suspects accused of multi-billion fraud (N43 billion) at the Consolidated Discount House Limited.

Justice Mohammed Idris had, on February 23, 2016 ordered them to sort out who, between them, should prosecute the case, but the issue was not resolved.

A lawyer from EFCC, A.B.C Ozioko, insisted that EFCC would prosecute the suspects, arguing that the suspects were in its custody.

In 2017, the EFCC and the AGF disagreed again on the handling of ‘high profile cases’.

The anti-graft’s head of legal department, G.K. Latona, saidthen that the attorney-general’s officehad the right to initiate new high-profile corruption cases and investigate them without waiting for cases initiated by the EFCC.

There were also controversies between the duo over the briberycase filed against the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by the EFCC.

The EFCC and AGF also maintained polar positions on the Malabu saga.

Although it was rejected by Mr Buhari, the AGF had proposed last year that the government discontinue the civil case on Malabu Oil Block (OPL 245) scandal and all criminal matters in Nigeria in connection with the oil block, among others.

The OPL 245 is an offshore oil block with about nine billion barrels of crude. It was auctioned for $1.3 billion (1.1 billion euros).

The EFCC on December 20, 2016 filed nine charges bordering on an alleged mismanagement of over $1b Malabu Oil cash against Dan Etete, Mohammed Adoke, a businessman, Aliyu Abubakar, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited; Rocky Top Resources Limited; Imperial Union Limited; Novel Properties and Development Company Limited, Group Construction Limited and Megatech Engineering Limited.

In another charge, the EFCC sued Etete, Adoke, Abubakar and eight others over an alleged $801 million bribe, in respect of the auctioning of the Malabu oil block.

Although it was rejected by Mr Buhari, the AGF had proposed last year that the government discontinue the civil case on Malabu Oil Block (OPL 245) scandal and all criminal matters in Nigeria in connection with the oil block, among others.

The OPL 245 is an offshore oil block with about nine billion barrels of crude. It was auctioned for $1.3 billion (1.1 billion euros).

The EFCC on December 20, 2016 filed nine charges bordering on an alleged mismanagement of over $1b Malabu Oil cash against Dan Etete, Mohammed Adoke, a businessman, Aliyu Abubakar, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited; Rocky Top Resources Limited; Imperial Union Limited; Novel Properties and Development Company Limited, Group Construction Limited and Megatech Engineering Limited.

In another charge, the EFCC sued Etete, Adoke, Abubakar and eight others over an alleged $801 million bribe, in respect of the auctioning of the Malabu oil block.

 

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