Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari to instruct Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to take immediate steps to expeditiously, diligently, effectively and fairly prosecute high-profile corruption cases, and to publish details of the whereabouts of allegedly missing case files, as well as the status of prosecution of all the cases being handled by his office.
The organisation said the high-profile corruption cases include 103 cases reportedly sent by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2017, and the 15 allegedly missing case files sent by the now defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) in 2019 to Mr Malami.
In the letter dated 26 September, 2020 and signed by the Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP said: “The authorities’ failure to diligently and expeditiously prosecute high profile corruption cases amounts to a fundamental breach of constitutional and international obligations. Continuing failure to prosecute these cases may create the perception of a deliberate effort to protect those considered to be very influential and powerful.”
“The fact that these cases have been pending for several years suggests that your government has not carried out its public, constitutional and international obligations, including the obligations to show that no one is above the law as far as the fight against corruption is concerned.
“Public interest demands that high-profile corruption cases are concluded within a reasonable time so that those guilty are punished and the innocent are set free. The rule of law and the preservation of democracy also require that the authorities duly proceed in accordance with the law against every high-profile person suspected of grand corruption, irrespective of where he/she is placed in the political hierarchy.”
The letter, copied to Mr Malami, urged President Buhari to instruct Mr. Malami to: “Explain why after several years these high-profile corruption cases have not been expeditiously, diligently, effectively and satisfactorily prosecuted to logical conclusion; “Take immediate and concrete steps to prosecute the cases in close cooperation and collaboration with appropriate anticorruption agencies among others.