Why Aondoakaa Must Be Prosecuted-CACOL



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The Coalition Against Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders ,CACOL has  said it is  imperative for erstwhile Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation ,Michael Aondoakaa  to face prosecution for alleged abuse of office.“The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) wishes to state unequivocally and call on the Federal Government and other relevant prosecution agencies, to probe the inglorious tenure and unwholesomeness activities of former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Michael Kaase Aondoakaa and prosecute him accordingly”a statement by Debo Adeniran, executive chairman, CACOL said today.

“One of the first actions the former AGF and Minster of Justice took in office was an attempt to stall the whole process of prosecuting ex-governors, especially those in his good record. In the early months of the Late Umar Yar’Adua administration, Aondoakaa presented a former letter requesting to direct all prosecutions by the EFCC, ICPC and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB),” he said

Adeniran  recalled that “Curiously, the former AGF was interested in only the three agencies which are the ones connected with prosecution of allegedly corrupt public officers. However, the late President Yar’Adua received superior legal advice from respected legal icons and Aondoakaa was forced by a thoroughly embarrassed president to reverse a decision he had announced to the whole world that the agencies should go through the AG’s office in order to exercise their prosecutorial powers.”

“The former AGF subsequently stirred the hornets’ nest when he told reporters in his office at Abuja that the EFCC in particular had cleared the jailed former governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori, Victor Attah and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, both former governors Akwa Ibom and Lagos State respectively over the sales of their states’ shares in V-mobile, a telecommunication company while the EFCC had been investigating a petition filed in 2007 alleging corruption in the sale of the states’ V-mobile shares,”he said .

After outlining some of  the alleged misdeeds of the ex minister  ,Adeniran  added that “CACOL demands with immediate urgency, the probe and prosecution of the former AGF and Minister of Justice, Mr. Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, a defender of the corrupt, who shielded the lootocrats while in office; the man who courted so many scandals and controversies instead of upholding the tenets and sanctity of the legal profession, gravitated from being a custodian of the Nigerian law/constitution to a reckless undaunted law breaker, abused the oath of office he took. His prosecution will definitely serve as a deterrent to other law officers who believe they can get away with every act of impunity and corrupt indulgence in the country. This is the time to save our nation.”

Read the full text of CACOL’s statement below:

REASONS WHY FORMER MINISTER OF JUSTICE AND ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION, MR. MICHEAL KAASE AONDOAKA, AN AGENT OF CORRUPT LEADERS MUST BE PROSECUTED

The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) wishes to state unequivocally and call on the Federal Government and other relevant prosecution agencies, to probe the inglorious tenure and unwholesomeness activities of former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Michael Kaase Aondoakaa and prosecute him accordingly.

In retrospect, immediately the former AGF assumed office as the nation’s chief law officer, he moved from one controversy to another, shirking his responsibility by defending corruption and summersaulted anti – graft charges against his cronies, shielded powerful politicians from the net of the nation’s anti-graft agencies, some former governors accused of corruption, protecting same people he was constitutionally required to prosecute.

One of the first actions the former AGF and Minster of Justice took in office was an attempt to stall the whole process of prosecuting ex-governors, especially those in his good record. In the early months of the Late Umar Yar’Adua administration, Aondoakaa presented a former letter requesting to direct all prosecutions by the EFCC, ICPC and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Curiously, the former AGF was interested in only the three agencies which are the ones connected with prosecution of allegedly corrupt public officers. However, the late President Yar’Adua received superior legal advice from respected legal icons and Aondoakaa was forced by a thoroughly embarrassed president to reverse a decision he had announced to the whole world that the agencies should go through the AG’s office in order to exercise their prosecutorial powers.

The former AGF subsequently stirred the hornets’ nest when he told reporters in his office at Abuja that the EFCC in particular had cleared the jailed former governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori, Victor Attah and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, both former governors Akwa Ibom and Lagos State respectively over the sales of their states’ shares in V-mobile, a telecommunication company while the EFCC had been investigating a petition filed in 2007 alleging corruption in the sale of the states’ V-mobile shares.

Explaining further to convince and deceive Nigerians, Aondoaka said he got to know of the duo’s clearance after he received a request from the British authorities to provide information on the deal, but the EFCC Head of Media, Mr. Femi Babafemi debunked the former attorney general in a statement that the commission had not at any time ever cleared the ex-governors.

After a while, the former AGF was at his game again when he tried to forcefully take over the prosecution of the EFCC’s case against Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Abia State based on a purported restraining order on the EFCC, thus when the case came up in court for hearing, the attorney general’s office was represented by a counsel just as the EFCC was and the AG’s counsel tried to stay proceedings by pleading that there was a court order restraining the court from hearing the case, then came Lagos based Human Rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana who said that there was no such court order and Nigerians wondered why the former AG was more interested in stopping the trial than prosecuting an alleged criminal.

Interestingly, all the antics and maneuverings were child’s play compared to Aondoakaa’s attempt to allegedly sabotage the trial of Ibori in a London court. The Southwark Crown Court sitting in London, which later sentenced James Onanefe Ibori, had on August 2, 2007 frozen his assets around the world estimated at about $35 million, but to everybody’s consternation, the freeze order was lifted on October 2, 2007 when Speechly Bircham, Ibori’s lawyer presented to the court a letter written by Mr. Aondoakaa stating that the former governor was under no investigation in Nigeria.

After successfully thwarting the prosecution of Ibori and interfered too much in the agency’s work, Aondoakaa, a cog in the wheel of progress of EFCC similarly intervened in the controversial trial in France of Dan Etete, former Minister of Petroleum charged before a magistrate court for money laundering but the former AGF wrote to the French magistrate trying Etete in an apparent attempt to stall the trial.

Meanwhile, the anti-corruption war was not taken serious by Nigerians and the International community when Aondoakaa held sway, he was regarded as a major threat to the realization of the principle of rule of law and the war against corruption under the Yar’ Adua administration. It was believed in several quarters that Aondoakaa shielded accused persons because of some gains in it for him and perhaps such people are friends and godfathers¸ like in the case of Ibori, who was a benefactor to Aondoakaa in ensuring the man keeps his job. Indications also showed that if Aondoakaa did not offer support for the powerful accused persons for a reward, he was believed to have rendered a normal legal duty for pecuniary gains.

More so, Aondoakaa had never supported the anti – corruption crusade and never pretended about it as a private legal practitioner, he filed an action in court and prayed that that EFCC be declared illegal. The case was still pending in court when he was made the AG giving him absolute power and Yar’Adua never knew Aondoakaa from Adam but was recommended for the post of AGF by those being prosecuted by the EFCC which explains why he diligently, unscrupulously, barefacedly and recklessly pursued the agenda of frustrating the anti-corruption agencies of government as soon as he was appointed into office. He fought for and got approval from the President to weaken the commission by directing that no criminal case be filed in court without his trial, which raised a lot of dust before the illegal directive was withdrawn. Unrelenting, the former AGF consistently put stumbling blocks on the path of the EFCC, ICPC and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

In addition, Aondoakaa made mockery of every request for mutual assistance on anti-corruption war in his desperate bid to protect those who have been alleged to have committed money laundering and other heinous economic and financial crimes thus in the process. Every request made to Nigeria on the infamous Halliburton bribery scandal were turned down and consequently, all requests made on mutual assistance on money laundering offences were treated with contempt, which stalled the financial support the EFCC was getting from abroad because of the roles of the former AGF. In the case of Siemens Scandal, the company was tried

and convicted in Germany for bribing Nigerian officials who were named and up till now, the company has not been brought to book in Nigeria for violating EFCC/ICPC Act but rather it was being awarded more contracts than ever before.

Due to the former AGF time to time interference in the investigation and prosecution of corrupt people through dubious legal advice and cultivating corruption by aiding his cronies to perpetrate the criminal act and sabotaging the effect of the anti-graft agencies, the Legal Practitioner Privileges Committee (LPPC) stopped Aondoakaa of his Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) title and relegated him to the status of just ordinary lawyer dubbing him an agent of corruption while the Legal Practitioner Disciplinary Committee (LPDC), the body responsible for disciplinary actions against errant lawyers found him guilty.

Therefore, CACOL demands with immediate urgency, the probe and prosecution of the former AGF and Minister of Justice, Mr. Michael Kaase Aondoakaa, a defender of the corrupt, who shielded the lootocrats while in office; the man who courted so many scandals and controversies instead of upholding the tenets and sanctity of the legal profession, gravitated from being a custodian of the Nigerian law/constitution to a reckless undaunted law breaker, abused the oath of office he took. His prosecution will definitely serve as a deterrent to other law officers who believe they can get away with every act of impunity and corrupt indulgence in the country. This is the time to save our nation.

 

Debo Adeniran

Executive Chairman, CACOL

www.deboadeniran.com

08 October, 2012


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