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EFCC probes AGF’s aides over ‘sale’ of presidential pardon

Some aides to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), have reportedly been grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

It was reported that the EFCC quizzed the aides for allegedly selling presidential pardon.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had pardoned about 159 convicts, including a former Governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, and former Governor Jolly Nyame of Taraba State, who are both in prison for diverting billions of naira of public funds.

The decision was reached during a Council of State meeting presided over by Buhari on April 15, 2022.

The council is made up of the President, vice-president, former heads of state, former Chief Justices of Nigeria, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, state governors and the AGF.

Everyone on the list presented by Malami was pardoned, except Francis Atuche, a former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB and two others.

According to The Cable, sources at the Ministry of Justice disclosed that several aides to Malami who were responsible for the processing of the list are currently being questioned by the EFCC.

An official of the ministry said, “Of particular surprise is the inclusion of Atuche on the list that was submitted to the Council of State.

“There are several names that raised suspicion and the EFCC had to be called in to investigate what went down.”

According to the report, a Director at the Ministry of Justice was among those quizzed by the commission.

The list has yet to be released till date while those pardoned are still in prison.

Attempts to get a response from the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, proved abortive as he neither responded to calls nor a text message on Tuesday.

The spokesman for the AGF, Umar Gwandu, also did not respond to an inquiry.

The Office of the AGF has yet to publish the full list of the beneficiaries of the pardon.

The PUNCH had last week sent a Freedom of Information request to the AGF’s office for the list.

However, the AGF’s office asked for more time to respond, adding that things were still being tidied up.

Responding to the scandal, human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, said the AGF’s office had no business with the list after the President’s approval.

Falana said it was the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation that ought to publish the list.

“The delay in the publication of the names of the beneficiaries of the presidential pardon has led to the alleged insertion of fake names in the list of the pardonees by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

“The policy of secrecy caused it. The list ought to have been distributed to the media after the meeting of the Council of State,” he added.

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