Judgesgate scandal: Why FG sacked Adeogun Philips – Okoi Obla
*Unprofessional conduct, conflict of interest and sundry reasons
Contrary to impressions given by Charles Adeogun-Philips, the lead prosecutor in the suit against Supreme Court judge, Justice Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta in various media reports suggesting that he withdrew from the case on his own volition, the National Prosecution Coordination Committee (NPCC) that engaged his services said she actually withdrew the fiat issued to him to prosecute the case over non disclosure of conflict of interest and for other sundry reasons.
The reports in a section of the media last Friday claimed that he left in protest due to last week Tuesday’s dropping of charges earlier instituted against the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Ahmed Gambo Saleh and two other officials of the apex court, Muhammad Abdulrahman Sharif and Rilwanu Lawal which he is also handling for the Federal Government and withdrawn against his consent.
The insinuation that the HAGF withdrew the case against the three Supreme Court officials because they are Northerners is also unwarranted due to the fact that the dropping of the suit was done in good faith and in the context of plea bargaining to achieve greater goals in the prosecution of the other bigger cases that are ongoing against Justice Sylvester Ngwuta among others.
So, it is wicked and childish for anyone to allude undue colouration to an action taken in national interest and reduce it to a North/South thing with a view to confuse the discerning public. This is not the first time such process will be entered into in law, especially so as the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 allows plea bargaining in line with national interest.
And as a way of precedence, there was a time in the history of this nation that the allegations against Sergeant Rogers who was accused of killing Kudirat Abiola were stepped down for him to be used to testify against Major Hamza Al-Mustapha in the case between him and the Lagos state government over the killing of the wife of the acclaimed winner of the 1992 presidential election, late Chief M.K.O Abiola.
It has now clearly shown now that, either corruption is fighting back or simply that some people want to be mischievous and to hoodwink and divert the estimation of Nigerians from the core issues at stake.
None of them is talking of the unprofessional conduct of Charles Adeosun-Philips who is handling a brief in an ongoing suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which amounts to conflict of interest which he failed to disclose when being engaged.
The suit in question involves First Bank Executive Director, Public Sector Accounts, Dauda Lawal who is alleged to have laundered the sum of $40m into Sterling Bank on behalf of former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke as part of the $153, 310, 000.00 she is alleged to have siphoned from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The EFCC is currently prosecuting the case before the Honourable Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Lagos pursuant to Section 17 of the Advanced Fees Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006 as well as Section 44(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federation of Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the National Prosecution Coordination Committee (NPCC) chaired by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN was inaugurated by Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on May 27, 2016 at the Presidential Villa.
It is charged with assisting the Attorney General of the Federation in the exercise of his prosecutorial powers under Section 150 and 174(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; especially as it involves high profile criminal cases.
Putting the records straight through a press statement issued on Sunday in Abuja is Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation.