Nuhu Ribadu, former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says the agenda of Michael Aondoakaa, former attorney-general of the federation, was to destroy the anti-corruption commission and frustrate the war against corruption.
Ribadu was the pioneer chairman of the EFCC, serving between 2003 and 2007.
While presenting a paper at the 2016 Annual Lecture organised by the Joe Kyari Gadzama Law Chambers in Abuja, he alleged that Aondoakaa attempted to take away the powers of prosecution from the EFCC but failed.
Ribadu also said that senior lawyers did “serious damage to the war against corruption”.
According to him, cases that they started prosecuting almost 10 years ago have still not gone anywhere because lawyers frustrated them.
“I still recall with amazement and shock how some very senior lawyers made it a duty upon themselves to bring down the EFCC and stop the work we were doing,” Ribadu said
“Many of them, like Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN), teamed up with politicians to wage a very serious propaganda to discredit the work we were doing. One thing that also did a serious damage to the war against corruption was the active connivance of some senior lawyers who represented the governors we charged to courts after the 2007 election.
“It is on record that we charged the former governors of Jigawa, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Enugu, Ekiti, Delta, Abia and Edo States as the first set of ex-governors to face prosecution. However, almost 10 years after, most of the cases have not gone anywhere because of deliberate action by lawyers to frustrate the trials.
“Take the case of Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, whose most cardinal agenda as the AGF seemed to be destroying EFCC by every means possible and frustrating all the cases.
“In that regard, he attempted to take over the prosecutorial powers of the commission, which would have rendered the EFCC into a toothless bulldog. But of course we resisted.
“We did all the work and took the investigation to a very advanced stage, but the case was handed over to private lawyers who connived with some officials to feather their nests from it. The lawyers ended up earning more than even the government, to the anguish of those diligent workers who built the case. That was a very unprofessional practice and against global best practice.”