Dss Raid: It Was My Call – Agf Reveals, Insists Njc Refused To Co-operate
SAN FRANCISCO, November 29, (THEWILL) – The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has revealed that he authorised the raid on the homes of judges and their subsequent arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Malami who appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the invasion of property and arrest of persons for reasons outside the general duties of the DSS insisted that the action was necessitated by the refusal of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to act on the petitions sent to it on allegations of corrupt practices by the affected judges.
He disclosed that the decision to arrest and invade residences of the judicial officers was premised on allegations of economic crimes, terrorism and narcotic crimes, adding that he was simply complying with Section 15(5) of the 1999 Constitution, which vests the state with the obligation to deploy all of its powers to abolish corruption.
Malami also declared that the action of the DSS, including the midnight raid on the homes of the judges, was within the confines of the law stating that the operation could have been conducted at any hour any moment and without restriction.
He also maintained that investigating matters of economic crime was not the exclusive preserve of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), because he as the AGF could also decide which agency to deploy to tackle any matter of corruption.
“The state was in receipt of multiple petitions of corrupt practices by the judicial officers and there was further apprehension that if immediate steps were not taken, the possibility of dissipating existing evidence that were believed to have been kept within their respective domains will eventually be tampered with,” he said.
“Arising from the responsibility created and established by Section 15 of the constitution, the state had to act.
“I had no objection that the operation would be carried out at night because I have taken time to go through the administration of Criminal Justice Act and I was convinced that this operation could be conducted at any hour, any moment without restriction.
“To the question of which agency has the responsibility of executing it, my response to that derives from the fact that multiple petitions were written to the Office of the AGF, DSS, EFCC and a lot of other agencies of government, and to my mind, I have a discretion to look, weigh the situation and decide which agency against the background of the petition will act for the purpose of ensuring that the obligation of the provisions of Section 15(5) of the constitution are carried out.
“I asked EFCC and DSS and another agency to investigate because they were in receipt of several petitions on the same subject and I was informed by the DSS before the search and arrest and I did not object.
“The DSS presented a formal report to me before and after effecting the search and arrest, they informed me that the operation will be done at any hour without restriction.
“So we had a situation where there were reasonable grounds for suspicion for commission of corruption and we had a body saddled with the primary administrative responsibility of looking at such things first, but seemed not to be cooperating in that respect.
“Meanwhile, when the issue of commission of corruption practice is established, the executive has the responsibility of investigation without recourse to the judiciary.”
Story by Oputah David