The prosecution of ex-government officials who served under the Goodluck Jonathan administration and their accomplices in the private sector will begin in earnest once an Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice is appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, THISDAY has learnt.
A presidency source, who confirmed this, said preliminary investigations had enabled the Buhari administration to identify some ex-government officials – mostly former ministers and heads of parastatals — as well as other persons in the public or private sector who helped to conceal their ill-gotten wealth for prosecution.
He added that the list of ex-government officials cuts across mainly the oil and gas sector, among other sectors, but their prosecution would only start in earnest once an attorney general who is “constitutionally recognised as the chief law officer is appointed by the president”.
He declined however to name the ex-government officials or the number of persons who might be prosecuted by the Nigerian government.
The presidency source noted that the dragnet would only focus on those who were once in the executive arm of government while any corrupt cases involving former governors, their aides and members of the legislature would be handled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
“The reason the attorney general is required for the prosecution of former government officials is because some of the cases will require the assistance of overseas governments to help in tracing where the loot may have been moved, the loot recovery process, and extraditions that can only be handled by the AGF,” he explained.
Buhari, who is set to release his list of ministerial nominees in the next few days, will also be expected to name his AGF and Minister of Justice.
According to presidency sources, frontline contenders for the post include human rights activist and lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) from Ekiti State; former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) from Ondo State; and a former Legal Adviser of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) who also served as part of Buhari’s legal team during all his presidential election petitions against successive presidents, Abubakar Malami (SAN) from Kebbi State.