- As Falana faces integrity test
The revelation at the National Assembly by the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, that a choice property located at 42 Gana Street, Abuja, was sold to “a Lagos Lawyer,” has been generating renewed hostilities between
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Femi Falana SAN, who has been in the frontline of anti-corruption war by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Several stakeholders in the polity have been of the view that the revelation of the Minster before the federal lawmakers raises questions over the integrity of Falana in his advocacy in the anti-corruption war and vehement defence of the embattled Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, over the rejection of his appointment by the Senate.
Governor Fayose had at a press conference in Ado Ekiti on Monday, declared, “It is has become necessary to add my voice to the new scandal where you find our supposed men of honour, defenders of democracy, crusaders of justice, people who want corruption stamped out of our land, allegedly traced to similar unfortunate purchases of alleged stolen property. Especially, when such allegations are coming from the number one minster of justice for the nation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).”
It was indicated that an investigation carried out by Italian prosecutors investigating Malibu oil deal revealed how Falana, SAN received the house, which was an asset recovered by the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform from Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar (popularly known as AA Oil) and handed to EFCC.
Abubakar Malami had before the National Assembly disclosed that 42 Gana Street was sold to “a Lagos Lawyer,” this, Governor Fayose said confirmed the earlier information at his disposal.
The governor had maintained that, “The disclosure by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, that a Lagos-based lawyer, was one of many highly placed Nigerians who allegedly were compensated by the EFCC and Ibrahim Magu with properties retrieved from corrupt government officials was initially taken with a pinch of salt.”
He remarked: “However, Mr. Falana, friend and defender of every obnoxious act by EFCC and Magu, has come into the open to not only give veracity to the allegation but also admit that he was the Lagos-based lawyer in question.
“Falana’s attempt to be clever by half in the explanations he offered to justify his alleged atrocious act; whether or not he was a first degree or third degree buyer; his efforts to white-wash what is an alleged fraudulent deal and a betrayal of public trust; whether or not he bought personally or through company or proxy; and his desperate double speak to wriggle out of this tight corner; whether court has ruled or has not ruled, all fell flat on its face.”
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Fayose insisting that truth must be told, stated: “We must call a spade a spade and what is bad is bad. It is sad, disgraceful and shameful that Falana, a supposedly social crusader, anti-corruption advocate, and friend of the masses, can be cited in such odious, obscene, and offensive conduct.”
“Linking Falana to illegally acquired properties seized by the EFCC is bad enough but the facts provided by Malami makes the case against Falana even worse.
“This must be the real reason why Falana always fall head over heels in defence of the EFCC and Magu, not minding the vicious violations of the constitutionally-gurranted rights freedoms, and liberties of citizens. What we have always suspected has now been confirmed publicly and by no less a person as the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
“Falana’s alleged unprincipled and disgusting defence of the EFCC and Magu’s penchant for disrespect of the rule of law and due process is for selfish reasons and personal gain.
“How many more Falana’s do we have in the system? Malami should please help us to expose them. Some dubious elements have been deceiving the people and feeding fat on a so-called anti-corruption war that exists only in their imaginations.
“This Falana-gate must not be swept under the carpet like so many others before it. It is so disgusting that what was recovered from a thief has been stolen by an armed robber. It is a case of the loot being re-looted. Investigations must go back to the time of the pioneer EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, to uncover those who have been cornering all choice properties recovered from looters,” Fayose declared.
When EFCC freeze Fayose’s account with Zenith, Falana led the debate of limited immunity for governors in attempt to justify EFCC’s action against the Ekiti State Governor. The legal practitioner, who is also from Ekiti State, has been leading several political battle against Fayose.
The N1 billion property in Abuja has heightened the hostilities between the governor and the legal practitioner.