Tension in EFCC over Magu as Court recognizes Senate's right to sack him



www.odogwublog.com reports that there is tension already at the Idiagbor building inside the EFCC quarters in Wuse, Abuja, as the Federal High Court in Abuja has held that the Nigerian Senate acted within the law when it rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s nomination of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The court, in a judgment that was delivered on January 15, but made available to newsmen yesterday held that Section 2 (3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004, conferred the Senate with the authority to ensure the choice of only suitable and credible persons for appointment into the EFCC’s chairmanship position.
Justice John Tsoho who delivered the verdict based on a suit that was lodged before the court by a legal practitioner, Mr. Oluwatosin Ajaomo said the import of the EFCC Act was that the Senate does not only exist to rubberstamp the President’s appointment of any person to head the anti-graft agency.
He held that the Senate was empowered to confirm or reject any appointee to the office of the Chairman of the EFCC by the President, based on facts available to it.
According to the court, Section 2(3) of the EFCC Act provided that appointment of Chairman and members of the commission other than ex-officio members shall be subject to confirmation of the Senate, stressing that the wordings of the Act were very instructive to the effect that they introduced a condition that must be fulfilled.
Justice Tsoho held: “On the strength of these authorities therefore, the expression ‘subject to’ should be understood to simply mean ‘depending on’. Accordingly, the import of Section 2(3) of the EFCC Act is that the appointment of a Chairman made by the President is dependent on confirmation by the Senate.
The 1st defendant can therefore reject a statutory appointment of a Chairman of the EFCC made by the President, if there is good basis for doing so. Issue 1 stands resolved. “On issue 2 for determination, there is no doubt that the 1st defendant is bound by the provisions of the EFCC Act with respect to appointment of Chairman of the EFCC by the President.
It should be realised that the provisions of Section 2(3) of the EFCC Act empower the Senate, headed by the 1st defendant to confirm an appointee to the Office of the Chairman of the EFCC by the President. “The Senate is thus conferred with authority to ensure the choice of only suitable and credible persons for appointment to that office.
The submission of the plaintiff however gives the impression that the Senate only exists to rubberstamp the President’s appointment of a Chairman. Such viewpoint runs counter to the proper intendment of Section 2(3) of the EFCC Act and is misconceived. Issue 2 is also resolved.
“The point must be made that it is trite law generally, that where a plaintiff’s claim is unchallenged and uncontroverted, the court will accept the available evidence and act on it. There is however exception to this, where the court finds that the plaintiff’s action is not maintainable, despite being unchallenged.
This, I humbly hold to be the position in the instant suit, as I regard as doubtful, the plaintiff’s capacity or competence to maintain the action”, Justice Tsoho held.
The plaintiff had in a suit he filed on January 24, 2017, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/59/2017, which had the Senate President and the Attorney General of the Federation as defendants, prayed the court to determine “Whether or not the 1st defendant can reject a valid statutory appointment made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the office of the EFCC in accordance with the provisions of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004.
As well as, “Whether or not the Senate was bound by the provisions of the EFCC Act, 2004 with respect to the confirmation of any appointment made by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
He further sought an interpretation of the provisions of section 2 (1) (a) (i) (ii) (iii) and 2(3) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004 with respect to the appointment of the Chairman of the EFCC by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the subsequent confirmation of the appointment by the Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria according to the dictates of the law.
He argued that the reason Senate gave for its refusal of Magu’s nomination was a security report, which he said was mere advisory. However, the court held that the locus-standi of the plaintiff to institute the action was doubtful, saying he failed to disclose sufficient stake or peculiar interest of the plaintiff above others that entitled him to institute the action.
Meanwhile, the Senate has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency sack the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
According to the Senate, failure to do that, it would henceforth not attend to nominations from the Presidency, just as it vowed that it will not in any way, jettison its earlier position on the EFCC boss.
According to the Senate, the impasse would persist until its power of confirmation of nominees to the boards of commissions established by enabling laws, but not listed in the 1999 Constitution as amended was clarified.
Senate spokesman, Sabi Abdullahi made this known yesterday while clearing the air on the controversies surrounding its suspension of the confirmation of nominees from President Muhmmadu Buhari.
Similarly, the Senate yesterday resolved to summon the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, over the failure to meet the two-week ultimatum to arrest those who perpetrated the New Year Day attacks in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State.
The Senate’s decision was sequel to a point of order raised by Senator Joshua Lidani, who demanded for the appearance of the IGP before the Senate.
Lidani said the two weeks given to Idris to arrest the killer herdsmen has expired and nobody has been arrested in connection to the killings in the state.
According to him, “two weeks was given to the IGP to arrest and arraign the killers, up till now, no arrest has been made, no information has been brought before us.
“Therefore, I want us to summon the IGP to appear before the Senate to give us update.”
Thereafter, the Senate unanimously adopted the request of Lidani for Idris to appear before the Joint Senate Committee on Police and National Security with his report.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki said the resolution of the Senate must be taken seriously and therefore the IGP must appear before the relevant Senate Committee to give the update.
Saraki added that the Senate is not going to be doing what is necessary until people are accountable.
“Something needs to be done,” he said.






Tension in EFCC over Magu as Court recognizes Senate's right to sack him Tension in EFCC over Magu as Court recognizes Senate's right to sack him Reviewed by Odogwu Emeka Odogwu on Friday, February 02, 2018 Rating: 5

No comments: