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Previous acquittal can’t stop Saraki from fresh trial — AGF

The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has validated the move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and any other law enforcement agency to investigate the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, for alleged corrupt activities.

Responding to the fundamental right enforcement suit filed by Saraki to stop his probe by the EFCC, the AGF office said the acquittal of the Senate President in previous criminal cases, including the one instituted against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, could not stop him from being charged with another offence.

Saraki had contended in the suit before Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja that the interim seizure of his houses by the EFCC, as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, was a violation of his rights.

He maintained that the investigation was on the same subject for which he had been previously tried and exonerated.

In a counter-affidavit, opposing Saraki’s suit, the AGF office stated, “That the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/152/2014 referred to by the applicant is premised on non-declaration of assets and the trial was conducted in the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“That he knows as a fact by virtue of his training as a legal practitioner that a previous trial in the Code of Conduct Tribunal does not preclude further criminal trial in a competent court of law.”

The AGF, the Inspector-General of Police, the Department of State Service, the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission and the Code of Conduct Bureau are the respondents to the suit.

The AGF, through the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata, filed the response to the Saraki’s fundamental rights enforcement suit on behalf of the AGF, the IGP and the DSS.

The response to the suit was filed on May 23, 2019, when Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) was still in office as the AGF.

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Regarding Saraki’s complaint of being a subject of persecution, the AGF office denied being part of any plot by the EFCC or any of the respondents to carry out any act of “a witch-hunt, vendetta, revenge or persecution” against Saraki on the whims of the All Progressives Congress.

It added that the discretion to initiate a criminal investigation against any person was a constitutional power of the second to the sixth respondents.

It said such investigative discretion was not subject to its supervision.

Justice Taiwo has fixed June 24 for the hearing.

Punch

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