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I Can’t Stop Case Of Forgery Against Senate President, Justice Minister Tells Senate

Malami AbubakarThe Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has made it clear that since the case of alleged document forgery against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and others has already gone to court, he has no power to now stop it.

Ththat investigation into the case of alleged forgery of Senate Standing Rules had been concluded before he was appointed and assumed office as minister.

Malami, who had earlier failed to appear before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters which invited him, honoured the invitation and appeared before the committee on Wednesday.

Malami appeared before the six –member Senate panel for dragging Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu and two others to court over alleged forgery of the Senate rule. The committee is investigating the allegation of “imminent threat to Nigeria’s democracy” leveled against the AGF.

Malami told the committee that he is under obligation to do whatever that can possibly be done to sustain democracy and the course of justice, saying that he therefore has no desire whatsoever to threaten democracy.

“The issue that constitutes the basis of this invitation is a criminal case instituted against certain members of the Senate. It is an act that predates my appointment. There are series of suits. The date of interest is 23rd of July, 2015.

“I was appointed on the 12th of November, 2015. That is four months after the investigation was concluded by the NPF (Nigeria Police Force).igeria Police Force). I have an obligation in the sustenance of democracy to institute a legal action from an investigation that has been concluded. It was based n this that I took the action.

“The action was not taken to truncate any democratic process, but was taken to protect the democracy. There are now two pending cases in court. One is a civil case instituted by some Senators. The other is a criminal case instituted by the office of the AGF. These two matters are subjudice. When a matter is before a court of law, nobody is entitled to look into it.

“I am guided by the Senate Standing Rules 53. One of the cases was instituted by the office of the AGF. It will be wrong to make any comments on a case still in court. The two matters are pending. Based n that, I will not say more.

“To my mind, the issue had been overtaken by events. I have a tradition of honouring social invitations, much less of an institution like the Senate. I know what they stand for. My inability to come was not out of arrogance or anything. I was out of the country when the invitations were sent.

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“As at the time I came to office, there existed report of investigation into the matter. At the time I came to office, I had obligation to file action in relation to the investigation. The suit was filed in furtherance of the concluded investigation.”

The Attorney General reminded the Senate that it has no power to investigate a case pending in court, cautioning the committee that when a case is in court, no arm of government apart from the judiciary should look into it.

“The issue that constitutes the basis of this invitation is a criminal case instituted against certain members of the Senate. It is an act that predates my appointment. There are series of suits. The date of interest is 23rd of July, 2015.

“I was appointed on the 12th of November, 2015. That is four months after the investigation was concluded by the NPF. I have an obligation in the sustenance of democracy to institute a legal action from an investigation that has been concluded. It was based n this that I took the action.

“The action was not taken to truncate any democratic process, but was taken to protect the democracy. There are now two pending cases in court. One is a civil case instituted by some Senators. The other is a criminal case instituted by the office of the AGF. These two matters are subjudice. When a matter is before a court of law, nobody is entitled to look into it.

“To my mind, the issue had been overtaken by events. I have a tradition of honouring social invitations, much less of an institution like the Senate. I know what they stand for. My inability to come was not out of arrogance or anything. I was out of the country when the invitations were sent.

“I am guided by the Senate Standing Rules 53. One of the cases was instituted by the office of the AGF. It will be wrong to make any comments on a case still in court. The two matters are pending. Based on that, I will not say more.”

Members of the committee are -Senator David Umaru (Chairman), James Manager, Joshua Lidani, Babajide Omoworare, Chukwuka Utazi and Ovie Omo-Agege. [myad]

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