July 5, 2012 – Fuel Subsidy Scam: Nigeria Backs Out On Prosecution
Rattled by the spate of criticisms from home and abroad over the position of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice in the agreement that led to a Federal High Court granting a restraining order in favour of Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, the Federal Government on Thursday went into over drive in its bid to clarify its position.
In an affidavit deposed on behalf of the Attorney General in the suit, the AGF had stated that the report of the House of Reps Committee that investigated the Fuel Subsidy scam is a fact finding committee which will be studied and given to relevant agencies of Government but will not prosecute or take legal action against the person or persons indicted by the report.
Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, a senior advocate of Nigeria who represented the AGF at the proceedings Wednesday at a press briefing at the Federal High Court today explained that Integrated Oil and Gas Limited went to court over their right of fair hearing which they alleged was breached by the Farouk Lawan Ad hoc Committee.
He explained that what the AGF stated was in furtherance to the principle of rule of law which this present Administration has vowed to maintain and sustain.
According to the senior advocate, “As the chief law officer in this country, the AGF is ready to prosecute any organisation that has unlawfully taken money without delivering the products for which they had taken money for. However, the AGF will not just take the report and start prosecuting. Prosecution will happen after investigation”
Awomolo further stated that the court order delivered by Justice Gladys Olotu does not hold the hands of the AGF to prosecute culpable organisations.
“What happened was the need for the rule of law to prevail by not taking steps to infringe on the integrity of the court. Only Integrated Oil and Gas Limited is in court, other indicted companies are not in court. Those found culpable of violating the law will be prosecuted after due investigation.
He likened the position taken by the AGF to the position of the Supreme Court in Rotimi Amaechi’s case where the court held that no fact finding Committee is empowered to indict any Nigerian other than the EFCC, ICPC or the Police.
He debunked the stories making the round that the AGF will not prosecute the indicted oil companies