Justice Minister Abubakar Malami has lashed out at the EFCC for alleging the leaked document published by a newspaper revealing an on-going investigation of over 100 politically exposed persons, including Chief Justice of Nigeria Walter Onnighen by the commission.
In a Friday statement signed by his special assistant on media and publicity, Salihu Isah, the justice minister said such an allegation is “petty and unsavoury.”
“The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice wishes to express his displeasure over the unfortunate and unbecoming innuendo by certain persons and agencies which sought to accuse his office of leaking what was termed as classified information to the public,” the statement read in part.
“This office therefore wish to state categorically, but with absolute repudiation, that it did not at any time leak such information to the media as wrongly alluded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to Malami, the pertinent question to ask is since the EFCC has publicly denied that the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria is not under probe or investigation; is it then possible for the same EFCC to have forwarded any classified information on a non-existent probe or investigation of the Honourable CJN to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation?
‘It also goes to show that the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation could not have leaked a non-existent classified information on an equally non-existent probe or investigation.”
The statement adds that the justice ministry would not tolerate any attempt at denigrating its principal officers and that Mr. Malami has profound respect of Mr. Onnoghen and the entire judiciary in Nigeria.
It added that the AGF is neither aware of nor privy to any purported probe or ongoing investigation of the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria by any security or anti-graft agency.
The lengthy report listed former governors, especially those in the Senate now, former ministers, and some serving now, including Mineral Resources Minister Kayode Fayemi, as under investigation.
Although the EFCC never stated categorically the AGF office leaked the information to the newspaper, but it denied the newspaper’s attributing it to some un-named EFCC sources.
“For the avoidance of doubt, cases under investigation communicated to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation by the Commission are classified information and it is troubling how such would be leaked to the media”, the EFCC said.