Abubakar Malami, SAN, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, explained on Tuesday that what happened in relation to the arrest of some judges by the Department of State Services, DSS, was merely an investigation of criminal allegations.
Malami said no one is immune from investigation under the Nigerian law, adding that it was the duty of relevant investigating agencies to perform their constitutional functions, once allegation of criminality was raised.
The DSS last weekend arrested some judges over allegations of corruption and perversion of Justice. The judges were released on bail Sunday night based on personal recognition.
The AGF spoke in Abuja after inaugurating the “country expert review committee for the second cycle of the review of implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UNCAC.”
He said, “The fundamental consideration is whether there is an allegation of the commission of a crime; whether there is the need for investigation, and whether the relevant provisions of the law and indeed, all circumstances, as provided in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) are put into consideration in our conduct as regard the fight against corruption.
“The bottom line is that we have a responsibility to fight corruption. Corruption is a crime and nobody, regardless of how highly placed, is exempted as far as issues that border on crimes and criminalities are concerned.
“The limited exceptions as we know constitutionally, are the exceptions of immunity. And to the best of my knowledge those exceptions do not apply to investigation.
“For those that are conferred with the immunity, the right to investigate has not been taken away constitutionally.
“So, I think the framework and the circumstances within which we are operating are clearly whether there exists the right to investigate or not, and whether the action borders on criminality.
“Once crimes and criminality are concerned, nobody is an exception. I think the undertone should be exclusively the consideration of the existence of a prima facie case; existence of reasonable grounds for suspicion of commission of a crime.
“And if there are, no member of the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive can definitely be exempted from investigation.I think where we are now is the point of investigation and that is what is taking place.”