Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
Fresh troubles may be ahead of some former governors as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abukakar Malami, is set to reopen corruption cases for which they were earlier investigated by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission.
Sources in the ICPC confirmed to The PUNCH on Monday that the commission had, last week, received a letter from the office of the AGF, giving the anti-graft agency a directive to that effect.
Some of the ex-governors, according to one of the sources, include some, who had been convicted for charges preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Others are currently undergoing trial on charges initiated against them by the EFCC at either the various divisions of the Federal High Court or the High Courts of their home states.
There are about five of the former governors, who are now serving senators.
Some of them had served as senators after completing two terms as governors.
The sources did not disclose the names of those on the list so as not to bungle further investigations where necessary.
The affected personalities, it was learnt, served as governors for either one or two terms between 1999 and 2015, and are from all the six geopolitical zones in the country.
It was also confirmed that majority of those on the list belonged to the two dominant political parties, the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party.
Another source, however, confirmed that a former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, who was convicted in the United Kingdom for fraud-related charges and still serving his prison terms, was on the list.
Apart from Ibori, two former governors from the South-South, are said to be on the list.
Five of the former governors are from the South-East, and three from the South-West.
The PUNCH was informed that the ex-governors, whose cases would be reopened, included six from the North-West; six from the North-East, and eight from the North-Central.
Part of the AGF’s letter, sighted by our correspondent on Monday, indicated that the cases against some of the former governors had been investigated some years ago but charges were never filed against them.
The letter partly read, “It is clear that some of these governors and other politically-exposed persons have not been charged to court despite the fact that the ICPC has concluded their investigations concerning allegations levelled against them for one reason or the other.
“It is the position of the present administration that all ex-governors that the ICPC had long concluded investigations into the various allegations levelled against them should be immediately prosecuted.”
The letter also gave the Chairman of the ICPC a 14-day ultimatum to “remit the duplicate case files concerning the politically-exposed persons investigated by the ICPC over the years” to the office of the AGF.
The letter indicated that this was in the exercise of the powers vested in the AGF by Section 174(1) of the Constitution as well as sections 105 (3) and 106 (a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
The AGF’s letter also requested files of other high-profile cases involving politically-exposed persons.
The AGF letter defines high-profile cases as cases “involving alleged misconduct amounting to economic sabotage; involving complex financial transactions or property movement; involving any of the suspects, who is a politician, a public officer or judicial officer; and where the subject matter involves government or corruption of its official or involves the abuse of office.”
Such judiciary officers, it was learnt, would include judges allegedly involved in economic sabotage, including financial transactions.
It could not be confirmed on Monday whether the AGF’s office had received any response from the ICPC regarding the request.
The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the AGF, Mr. Salihu Isah, could not be reached on Monday as his telephone line indicated that it was switched off.