High profile crimes: AGF orders compilation of pending cases

· Meets with prosecuting agencies

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Tuesday, directed the various agencies with prosecutorial powers to submit to him the list of pending cases they were currently handling at the various courts across the country.

The essence of the directive, the AGF said, was to determine which of the cases falls within the category of high profile cases to be taken over by the National Prosecution Coordination Committee (NPCC) set up recently by the Federal Government.

Malami met with the agencies in his office on Monday, in Abuja, to brief them on the exigency and existence of the committee and to fashion out a working synergy between the committee and the agencies.

The Head of Communication and Public Affairs of the NPCC, Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, who doubles as the Special Adviser to the AGF, said in a statement that Malami’s message to the agencies was read by the Special Assistant to the President on Research and Special Project attached to the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Sylvester Imhanobe, who is also the secretary of the committee.

Agencies present at the meeting were the Nigeria Police, Department of State Services (DSS)), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices & other related offences Commission  (ICPC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The AGF explained further that for a case to be tagged high profile, it must have overriding public interest elements, adding also that he (AGF) determined what case was tagged a high profile case.

Malami said sometimes, the quantum of value of a case and its sensitivity also determined a high profile case.

According to him, members of the committee were mainly his aides, as well as eight external members selected on the basis of experience and expertise, stressing that heads of agencies were not part of the NPCC, due to their busy schedules.

Malami stressed that the intention was not to distract the heads of these agencies, but engender smooth synergy between the committee and the agencies.

The Special Assistant to the President on Coordination and International Affairs under the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Pius Oteh, who chaired the meeting, said it was held to sensitise relevant agencies on the objectives of the National Prosecution Coordination Committee.

Oteh emphasised that the AGF, in his wisdom, saw the need for coordination and cooperation between the NPCC and the agencies with prosecutorial and investigative powers,  saying  “it is necessary for cooperation and synergy between the committee and the agencies consistent with the mandate of  President Muhammadu Buhari in the anti-graft war.”

He said beyond the synergy and partnership between all concerned, a robust interface between the agencies was necessary and pointed out that the agencies should take their mandate seriously for a more vigorous and efficient prosecution.