Senate does not have the powers to ‘summon’ Sagay — SERAP

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the leadership of the Senate to “immediately withdraw the unwarranted and unconstitutional ‘summon’” for Itse Sagay, chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption to appear before the Senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions for reportedly describing the body as “childish and irresponsible” and one “filled by people of questionable character”

SERAP in a statement Thursday signed by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said, “the Senate’s decision to summon Professor Sagay simply for exercising his right to freedom of expression is arbitrary, a travesty, mala-fide, and cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny.”

The statement read in part: “The Senate is not immune from constitutional control simply because it’s a law-making body. In fact, the Senate has neither special immunity from the operation of the constitution nor special privilege to invade the constitutionally and internationally guaranteed right to freedom of expression of Professor Sagay or other citizens for that matter.”

“The framers of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) would never have contemplated a legislative power without responsibility, and the Senate can’t continue to carry on in a manner that implies its law-making and oversight powers are not open to question. Therefore, its powers under the constitution ought to be exercised reasonably and responsibly, consistent with the fundamental notions of peace, order, good governance and the public interest.”

“The human rights of Nigerians are secured against not only executive lawlessness but also legislative excesses. To trample on citizens’ freedom of expression is to thwart the ideals of representative democracy and the rule of law.”

Mr. Sagay’s comment was a reaction to the Senate’s refusal to proceed with confirmation of 27 persons President Muhammadu Buhari nominated as Resident Electoral Commissioners.

The lawmakers stopped the confirmation in protest against the refusal of the President to sack Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission despite his repeated rejection by the Senate.

SERAP said, “The National Assembly is constitutionally empowered to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of Nigeria but recent events in the Senate would seem to stir the public anger. It seems curious that the Senate will be giving a raw deal to the heads of the two leading anti-corruption bodies in the country—Ibrahim Magu of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Itse Sagay of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.”

“All public institutions and figures are legitimately subject to criticism and political opposition. The Senate in particular and the National Assembly as a whole would do well to respect the inherent rights of Nigerians that are so fundamental to our constitutional structure. Democracy, constitutional supremacy, and the rule of law require no less. Indeed, no principle is more basic to any proper system of law than the maintenance of the rule of law itself”.

 

Source: Premium Times

“Sagay lied, we are just about to buy 22 vehicles” – NDDC

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has denied purchasing 70 cars, as alleged by Itse Sagay, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee (PACAC).

On Thursday, Sagay accused the NDDC of being reckless with funds meant for schools and infrastructure development in the Niger Delta region.

But reacting in a statement released by Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, head, corporate affairs NDDC, the commission said it was just in the process of purchasing 22 cars for official use.

The NDDC said its chairman and executive directors were still making use of their private vehicles, after three months on the job.

“The attention of the Governing Board and Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has been drawn to a statement credited to the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), in which he claimed that the Commission “bought over 70 cars that included eight super Lexus that cost N70m each and 10 Toyota Landcruiser jeeps at N65m each,” the statement read.

“The NDDC wishes to state, categorically, that no such purchases have been made since assumption of office on November 4, 2016, of the current Governing Board. Indeed, it is a known fact that the Chairman, the distinguished Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), the Managing Director/CEO, Nsima Ekere, and the two Executive Directors are still using their private vehicles three months after assumption of duties.

“The NDDC is only now in the process of acquiring work vehicles, and is adhering strictly to due process. These include five (5) Toyota Prado jeeps, 10 Toyota Hilux trucks, four (4) Toyota Landcruiser jeeps, one (1) Toyota Coaster bus and two (2) Toyota Hiace buses. The Commission has just received the Due Process Compliance Certificate from the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, and is preparing the mandatory memo for the approval of the Federal Executive Council.

“We wish to restate that the current Board and Management of the NDDC is committed to making its transactions transparent, by adhering strictly to processes and procedures of Government, as espoused in the Board’s 4-R Initiative of restoring the Commission’s core mandate, restructuring the balance sheet, reforming our processes and reaffirming a commitment to doing what is right and proper at all times in facilitating the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.

“In this regard, the Commission is also partnering with Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and Open Government Partnership (OGP) to improve the Commission’s governance systems, procurement and project implementation processes, in order to plug all loopholes and systematically eliminate all incidences of mismanagement and corruption.

“NDDC is always ready to open its books for audit. We are also committed to responding to all inquiries from well-meaning individuals and groups seeking clarification on rumours and possible false information.

“While asking for support from all stakeholders to enable the Commission succeed in the ambitious task of reforms, the New NDDC is evolving as a responsible public institution and members of the public should feel free to get authentic information on its activities to avoid sensationalism.”

 

Source: The Cable

Shehu Sani: I’m impressed with Magu, he’s doing a good job

Shehu Sani, lawmaker representing Kaduna central, says Ibrahim Magu, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is doing well.

In a statement on Friday, Sani made known his position regarding the decision of the senate to reject the nomination of Magu as EFCC boss.

The senator noted that he’s impressed with the performance of Magu, but he’s bound by duty to respect the consensus of the senate majority.

He also said the EFCC could do better in the areas of “rule of law and fundamental human rights”.

“My personal opinion on this is simple; Magu is doing a good job as the boss of the EFCC.

“All that is needed is the rule of law and fundamental human rights elements which need to be strongly observed by the commission, rule of law remains the most potent weapon in the fight against corruption.

“I remained respectfully bound by the majority position of the Senate on the issue, but wish to categorically and unambiguously state that I’m personally impressed with his performance,” Sani wrote on his Facebook page.

 

 

Itse Sagay, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, was recently quoted to have said Magu’s appointment as EFCC boss will be “renewed” whether he is confirmed or not.

Sagay is a false intellectual with broken moral compass, says Wike

Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state, says Itse Sagay, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti- Corruption (PACAC), is a false intellectual with a broken moral compass.

Wike was speaking in Port Harcourt in reaction to a comment by Sagay that the desperation of politicians in Rivers, led by Wike, was making it difficult for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a free and fair election in the state.

“[Sagay] is a false intellectual with a broken moral compass and a beneficiary of the current dictatorship of the All Progressives Congress-led government,” Wike said.

Also speaking, Austin Tam-George, the state’s commissioner of information and communications, said Nigerians no longer take Sagay serious.

“Prof. Sagay is a happy beneficiary of the current dictatorship. I can tell you that most Nigerians no longer take him seriously. He is one of the pseudo-intellectuals seduced by the honey of power,” the commissioner said.

“Despite Sagay’s claims, governor Wike has consistently called for a free, fair and transparent electoral process in Rivers state.

“This is a sovereign and non-negotiable right of the Rivers people which must be respected. And we will always defend this right with the last drop of our blood.”

‘National Assembly amendment of CCB, CCT Act will fail’ – Sagay

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN, and the immediate past Director-General of Nigerian Law School, Professor Tahir Mamman, SAN, have flayed the National Assembly for removing the control of the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, and Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, from the executive, saying the plan will fail.

According to the two SANs, the action of NASS is informed by the ongoing travails of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at the Tribunal.

Prof. Sagay, who was optimistic that the amendment to the CCB and CCT Act by NASS would fail, said he didn’t see President Muhammadu Buhari signing the bill.

He said: “It is an attempt to ridicule the whole Code of Conduct set up, and it will definitely fail. It needs an independent body that will neither be the legislature nor executive.

‘’It will fail because I don’t see the President signing such a bill. Of course, the President’s veto can be overridden by two-third majority.

“But at the end of the day, what they will put on paper is going to be scrutinized very carefully to see that it does not in any way contradict what is already in the constitution about the Code of Conduct.

‘’It is a constitutional matter; the provisions are in the constitution. In other words, what they want to do, unless it is clearly an improvement in the tenure of the Act, in the sense that it will be more rigorous and compelling for public officers to obey it, it will fail. If they attempt to weaken it to accommodate a lower moral standard in the public light, it will fail.’’

Prof Mamman, on his part, noted that the speed with which the bill was passed showed the Senate had a special interest in the matter.

According to him, if the amendment sails through, it will not give a good image to the law makers.

“Overall, it is perceived as an exercise by them to take away the role of the executive in the appointment of judges of the body due to the ongoing travails of the Senate President with the tribunal, no more, no less!” he stated.

Mamman explained that though it was within the powers of the National Assembly to amend any existing law in Nigeria on matters it had powers to legislate on, tinkering with existing laws for less than holy motives was ill-informed and a divisive issue to the country.

He added: “Also, in interpreting statutes, interpreters of legislations apply diverse rules to decipher the intention of the lawmakers at the time the law was made.

‘’That is, what was the mischief that the law sought to cure? However, it may not necessarily affect the efficacy of the Tribunal.

“This will essentially depend on the personality and integrity of the officials manning the Tribunal and the overall climate of the country in terms of citizens actively demanding accountability from office holders.”

Judges have no immunity against arrest – Sagay

Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), said yesterday that cash now dictates justice in the country.

Besides, the Constitution lawyer also said judges are not immune from arrests as there is no law granting such privilege. The Department of State Services (DSS) last weekend arrested some judges nationwide.

In a statement yesterday which contained his reaction, Sagay said the “expanding epidemic of judicial corruption” had destroyed the veil of invincibility judges once possessed.

“The searches of the premises of judges by the DSS is a sad development in our legal history brought about by inevitable circumstances.

“Although no judge had ever been subjected to search of premises and arrest, from the colonial period until recently, this was not because there was any law protecting judges’ immunity against arrest and criminal prosecution. Rather, it was based on a convention arising from the need to respect the dignity and sanctity of the judiciary.

“In other words, the practice of respect for members of the judiciary was a convention, not a binding Rule of Law. Members of the judiciary do not enjoy immunity against searches and arrests under any law. Therefore, the sustenance of sanctity of the person, office and residence of a judge depended on the continued maintenance by the judge of decorum, dignity, honesty and integrity.

“The explosive and expanding epidemic of judicial corruption, which has taken an alarming character since the 2007 elections, has totally overturned the culture of respect for the judiciary and brought the revered institution into disrepute and ignominy.

“The epic and corrosive nature of the problem has made the system expressly laid down for dealing with judicial indiscipline, that is, the National Judicial Council (NJC) system, totally ineffective. The level of moral depravity and the enormous number of culprits engaged in aggressive or rampaging corruption was just too much for the orthodox system of discipline to deal with.

“The amount of raw cash recovered in the process of the DSS searches is mind-boggling. We, therefore, have a situation in which a deadly disease was threatening the very existence of democracy and the Rule of Law.

“The question must be: do we take drastic and unprecedented steps to sanitise the judiciary and save the institution from those who are prepared to drag it and our democracy down for filthy lucre? Or do we twiddle our fingers in despair and let the shameful erosion and retrogression of a once famous and revered institution to go on?

“This is a country that once had one of the greatest judiciaries in the world. It now seems unbelievable that our judicial benches were once graced by legendary figures like J.I.C. Taylor, Louis Mbanefo, Joseph Adefarasin, Adetokunbo Ademola, Akinola Aguda, Anthony Aniagolu, Kayode Eso, Mohammed Bello, Chukwuweike Idigbe, Andrews Otutu Obaseki, Augustine Nnamani, Adolphos Karibi-Whyte and Chukwudifu Oputa. Between 1980 and 1990, we had an outstanding group of jurists in the Supreme Court, who created the golden age of the judiciary.

“What has happened between that dreamlike era and now is a rapid descent into the world of mammon, where cash dictates justice. With that degeneration of our judicial standards, our judicial ‘gods’ have descended from mount Olympus and joined the ranks of ordinary men and thus are suffering the fate of ordinary men.”

Confess All Your Sins To Buhari Before You Are Arrested – Sagay Advises Jonathan

Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay SAN, has advised former President Goodluck Jonathan to secretly confess all he knows about the scandalous $2bn arms deal, of which his name has been linked, to President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

The Chairman told The Punch that if Jonathan go by the advice, he may be accorded the respect due to him by virtue of being a former President.

 

Sagay however pointed out that the case of the former President being arrested relating to the arms scandal is a “sensitive one”, adding that his concession of defeat to Buhari during the March 28 Presidential election does not make Jonathan a hero, as one good action could not correct several evil deeds.
According to him, “To start with, the great reputation he (Jonathan) seems to have is the fact that he admitted defeat. There are thousands of actions that are negative actions so I don’t think that we should overplay it.

 

“But on the issue of the former President going to prison, I agree that it is a bit touchy politically but the case of Jonathan is particularly bad if you see the manner with which the country’s resources and government coffers have been turned into a bazaar parlour where everyone goes to collect his own share. Just like Warri boys would ask, ‘You don obtain your own?’

 

“Everyone was going to ‘obtain’ under Jonathan. It was just bizarre but I understand that dealing with a former Head of State is always a sensitive issue but I would say he should have a private chat with President Muhammadu Buhari and say all that he knows and if there is anything he has to release, then he should release it and be allowed to go quietly into retirement,” he stated.

Prof. Sagay’s Alleged Concocted Interview Is Handwork Of Looters –Oyegun

National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has urged Nigerians who see merit in the war that President Buhari-led administration was waging against corruption, not to be distracted by the ploy of some people he described as “agents of corruption” to discredit the war.

 

The APC chairman, while reacting to alleged concocted interview in a national daily (not Vanguard) by a legal luminary, Prof. Itse Sagay, yesterday, insisted that sane Nigerians must continue to support the efforts of the president to rid the country of corruption.

 
While describing the the alleged concocted interview as the “height of callous insensitivity”, the APC chairman accused those, who he noted, had looted the country blind, as sponsors of the interview.

 
The alleged interview, which the elder statesman was quoted as saying the current government’s fight against corrupt was merely a cosmetic one, has gained prominence in the media.
He has since distanced himself from the interview, insisting that it was concocted.

 
But Oyegun said it was the handiwork of those who soiled their hands in corruption during the immediate past federal administration.

 
“In response to the ‘concocted’ interview published in Nigerian Tribune (Sunday, December 20, 2015) and attributed to respected legal scholar, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN where he reportedly dismissed President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts as “selective” and “cosmetic” and further accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) and it’s members of corruption amongst others, we are mindful of the axiom: “When you fight corruption, it fights back”, the statement read.

 
He added :”For the record, Mr. Sagay, a professor of law, well known constitutional lawyer and head of President Buhari’s advisory committee on anti-corruption, says the newspaper’s interview credited to him is concocted and represents a desperate attempt to discredit President Buhari’s anti-corruption war. He challenged the reporter and paper’s editors to provide the public with a tape recording of the so-called interview.

 
“President Buhari in his May 29 inaugural speech declared, “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”, that position remains unchanged. The syndicated and sponsored campaign suggesting a “selective” and “cosmetic” anti-corruption fight by the present administration should be seen as a plot meant to distract the citizenry from the successful ongoing war to catch looters and recover Nigeria’s stolen common wealth.

 
“On sweeping allegations made by the sponsors of the concocted interview that members of the APC are corrupt, the burden of proof is on the sponsors.

 
“Nigerians and the international community are still reeling in shock over the looting and diversion of public funds meant to purchase badly needed arms and ammunition for Nigeria’s Armed Forces to fight insurgents and protecting the country’s territorial integrity.

 
“The President’s assurance that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be encouraged to publish details of voluntary return of looted funds to the Federal Government’s coffers is evidently causing panic in the camp of looters.

 
“Whether by planted media reports, interviews or whatever form of syndicated proxy campaign, the looters of our common wealth do not have the luxury of dictating how the present administration carries out its legitimate duty of catching looters, as long as it conforms with the rule of law.

 
“The looted arms purchase funds could have saved the lives of innocent Nigerians, particularly ill-equipped soldiers who became easy preys to insurgents.

 
“Indeed, corruption is fighting back but the will of Nigerians and the noble efforts of the present administration will prevail. “

 

 

Credit : Vanguard