The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari requesting him to ensure the immediate prosecution. of high profile corruption cases
In the open letter signed by the organisation’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP urged Buhari to instruct the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to also 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 letter read in part; “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.
“SERAP is seriously concerned about the apparent inertia by the authorities to diligently and expeditiously prosecute high-profile corruption cases. While many of these cases have been dragging before your assumption of office in May 2015, several of the cases have not satisfactorily progressed, contrary to Nigerians’ expectations.
“Speedily, diligently, effectively and fairly prosecuting high-profile corruption cases would demonstrate your government’s commitment to enhance probity in public life and willingness to enforce accountability in public life. The basic postulate of the concept of equality: ‘Be you ever so high, the law is above you’, should be your government’s approach to high profile corruption cases.
“SERAP therefore urges 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 anti-corruption agencies;
“Publish details of the whereabouts of the allegedly missing 15 case files of high-profile individuals suspected of corruption, including the status of prosecution of the cases, as well as those of the 103 cases reportedly sent to Mr Malami;
“Invite civil society groups and international community to monitor the prosecution of high-profile corruption cases, and to periodically report to Nigerians the status of their prosecution
“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.”