The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari requesting him to “instruct Mr. 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”.SERAP said in the open letter released on Sunday in Lagos that the details of the whereabouts of allegedly missing case files as well as the status of prosecution of all the cases being handled by the office of the Minister of Justice be published.
“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,” SERAP said.
SERAP’s deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, who signed the letter, 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,” he said.
“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2011, and article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on the details of the whereabouts of allegedly missing 15 case files of high-profile individuals suspected of grand corruption, and the status of prosecution of the cases, as well as those of the 103 cases reportedly sent to Mr, Malami,” SERAP added.