•Minister urges dismissal of suit challenging bench warrant
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami (SAN) has asked a Federal High Court in Kaduna to declined jurisdiction over a suit by embattled former chairman of the Presidential Pension Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, challenging the arrest warrant issued against him by an Abuja court.
Malami urged the court to dismiss the suit and allow the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the government agency that got the arrest warrant, to proceed with Maina’s arrest and prosecution.
The AGF told the court that granting any of the reliefs sought in the suit by Maina will do incalculable and permanent damages to the nation’s fight against corruption as well as reverse all gains made so far.
Malami spoke in court processes he filed in response to the suit filed by Maina. The suit has the EFCC, AGF, Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives as respondents.
It basically challenges the legitimacy of the arrest warrant got against him by the EFCC and the commission’s decision to declare him wanted based on the said order issued by a Magistrate’s Court in Abuja.
It is Maina’s contention that the EFCC was an illegal body, on the grounds that law setting it up – the EFCC Establishment Act 2004 – was an illegal legislation, the amendment of its principal Act having not been allegedly effected by the National Assembly.
He claimed that the principal Act – the EFCC Act 2002 – was amended as EFCC Act 2004 unilaterally by then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He argued that since the President lacked the constitutional powers to unilaterally alter any law made by the legislature, the EFCC Act 2004, allegedly altered by President Obasanjo, becomes illegal and void and on which the EFCC cannot rely to act, including declaring him wanted.
Maina, among others, urged the court, in his originating summons, “to hold that the plaintiff (he) cannot be declared wanted or arrested by any government agency invoking the powers of the EFCC Act 2004 for the same (the law) being an illegal enactment”.
However, the AGF, in his counter affidavit, argued that “since a court of law cannot shield any person from arrest, investigation and possible prosecution, the plaintiff (Maina) cannot claim to have any legal right in an effort to stop any subsequent arrest, investigation and prosecution”.
Malami faulted Maina’s claim about the enactment of the EFCC Act 2004, insisting that it was validly passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly.
He challenged the competence of the suit in an objection he filed.
He urged the court to decline jurisdiction because the suit was wrongly commenced.
The AGF also described the suit as an abuse of court process on the grounds that Maina had filed a similar suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Further proceedings will resume in the case on January 15, 2018.
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