Withdrawal Of Charges Against The Supreme Court 3: What Is, What Should And What Could Be, By Umar Hassan
If its allowed to smell fishy for too long, the mind inevitably goes fishing in search for answers.Conspiracy theories almost always do no government any good because of the likely outcomes of its opponents keying into uncertainty to paint it bad or the people eventually stumbling on the truth.One thing I have in common with Mr Charles Adeogun Philips, the former government prosecutor in its cases against Justice Sylvester Ngwatu and 3 officials of the Supreme court is the fact we both smell something fishy about his sack from those cases and the fishing expedition in search for answers has spawned some very interesting questions.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN via a statement issued by his Special Assistant on media and publicity, Salihu Isah claimed Adeogun-Philips was fired primarily for failing to disclose a conflicting interest in another criminal matter he was handling and I ask-why didn’t the AGF refer this to the Legal Practitioners disciplinary committee having known Adeogun-Philips had contravened Section 55 of the Rules of Professional Conduct for legal practitioners?. Judging by that Section, Mr Adeogun-Philips is guilty of professional misconduct and liable to punishment as provided for in the Legal Practitioners Act. My subscription to any Conspiracy theory especially the one formulated by Mr Philips about how his objection to the withdrawal of charges against 3 corrupt officials of the Supreme court led to his sack is hinged more on the AGF’s magnanimity in letting him walk than anything else. The fact that the nature of the conflict was not disclosed in the letter terminating his appointment (in line with the principle of fairness) nor to the general public further lends credence to the theory that he was relieved of his job for not agreeing with the unjust dealings of his employers.
Like Mr Philips, i find the plea bargain deal entered into with the 3 officials including the Chief Registrar of the Supreme court, Mallam Ahmed Gambo Sale devoid of any sense at all. If indeed a bigger fish was complicit in the N2.2 billion fraud they were accused of committing, the authorities would have traced him to them in the course of their investigations. Otherwise whatever they say and against whoever will only amount to another classic case of ‘their word against his’.
Secondly, in virtually all allegations of corruption against Supreme court justices ever known to us, the targets were reached out to directly, through a colleague or senior lawyers. Who are the 3 Supreme court officials going to co-operate with the authorities against?. I don’t think any litigant rich enough to bribe Supreme court justices would reach out through the registrar or director of finance.
The opaqueness of this situation has given rise to some theories, prominent among them the one claiming interceders on behalf of the officials (who are all northerners) met a willing President Buhari who has never been one to hide his bias for his fellow northerners. An escape route was made for the 3 officials and considering that the President who served under Gen. Abacha as PTF Chairman has publicly stated that there is no Abacha loot even when the funds are still being returned till date and the fact that Babachir Lawal, the current Secretary to the Federal Government was allowed to walk amidst glaring evidence indicting him in the IDP contract scandal, no one can put it above the President to create a soft landing for corrupt individuals he deems worthy.
Then there is also the fact that the Chief Registrar of the Supreme court, Ahmed Gambo Sale has being nominated for the Executive Secretary position in the National Judicial Council. Mr Philips himself alleged enormous pressure started being put on the prosecution after the nomination of Sale and that he was relieved of his job for refusing to succumb to them.
There is something nobody is telling us about the withdrawal of corruption charges against 3 officials of the Supreme court and the refusal of the number one law officer in the land to file a complaint against Philips for unprofessional conduct only makes that obvious.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.