MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and current Minister of State for Labour; Mr. Festus Keyamo has given three days ultimatum to authorities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau to arrest, investigate and prosecute former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku for criminal acts while in office.
In a letter dated 16th January, 2023 written in his personal capacity as a concerned Nigerian, Keyamo who is currently the Director of Public Affairs and Chief spokesman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council for Bola Ahmed Tinubu, alleged that Atiku while serving as Nigeria’s Vice President was involved in offences against the code of conduct for public officers.
These offences he said included money laundering, criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation and conspiracy.
The letter a copy of which is available to AtlanticNewsonline reads: “I write this petition in three capacities:
“Firstly, I am a legal practitioner and a member of the Inner Bar (a Senior Advocate of Nigeria) who has sworn on oath to always uphold and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all laws of the land.
“Secondly, I bring this petition as an ordinary concerned Nigerian citizen, though I am a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (a Federal Cabinet member) and the Director of Public Affairs and Chief Spokesperson of the APC Presidential Campaign Council.
“I have spent the last 30 years of my life using the instrumentality of the law to fight injustice, fight for the enthronement of democracy, the Rule of Law and to rid our Nation of corruption. My cabinet status therefore, cannot deny me of my right to continue to use the instrumentality of the law to bring those who have violated our laws to book. I am not about to relent in this role I chose for myself many years ago.
“Thirdly, up until my appointment as a Minister in 2019, I was an active and private Prosecutor for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other law enforcement agencies for well over a decade and as such I have an added responsibility to assist the law enforcement agencies in the discharge of their duties.”
Stating facts of the matter, Keyamo said that
“for about a week now, Nigerians have been in shock over the public revelations of a whistleblower, Mr. Michael Achimugu, who has provided the nation with evidence of letters of appointment by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, emails, documents, audio clips, sworn affidavit and his direct oral evidence as to how Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who happens to be the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), during his tenure as Vice-President of Nigeria between 1999 and 2007, colluded with his then boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, to fleece the country and steal public funds using what he termed as “Special Purpose Vehicles” (SPVs).
“Those SPVs were companies Atiku admittedly registered upon assumption of office as Vice-President (with the approval of President Olusegun Obasanjo) using “trusted allies” as shareholders and Directors. The purpose was to divert government contracts to these companies as “consultants” and then pay monies into these companies and use those monies to fund the PDP and their private businesses and family activities.
“I hereby make available Certified True Copies of the affidavit sworn to and released to the public by the whistleblower, Mr. Michael Achimugu, giving graphic details of all that transpired, including attached documents.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria gave in details what he described as possible infractions of the law arising from the alleged offences of the PDP presidential candidate.
According to Keyamo, “From the oral account of the whistleblower, the voice notes and all other supporting documents, these are the possible infractions of the law Atiku Abubakar has committed and I urge his prosecution along these areas:
OFFENCES AGAINST THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS
Sections 5, 10, 13 & 17 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act states as follows:
5 “A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section, the receipt by a public officer of any gifts or benefits from commercial firms, business enterprises or persons who have contracts with the government shall be presumed to have been received in contravention of the said subsection (1) of this section, unless the contrary is proved.
Section 18(2) of The Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022:
(2) “Any person or body corporate, in or outside Nigeria, who directly or indirectly—
(a) conceals or disguises the origin of,
(b) converts or transfers,
(c) removes from the jurisdiction, or
(d) acquires, uses, retains or takes possession or control of any fund or property, intentionally, knowingly or reasonably ought to have known that such fund or property is, or forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, commits an offence of money laundering under this Act.
Section 311 of the Penal Code Law reads thus-
“Whoever, being in any manner entrusted with property or with any dominion over property, dishonestly misappropriates or converts to his own use that property or dishonestly uses or disposes of that property in violation of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged or of any legal contract express or implied, which he has made touching the discharge of such trust, or wilfully suffers any other person so to do, commits criminal breach of trust.”
“When two or more persons, agree to do or cause to be done
(a) an illegal act ; or
(b) an act which is not illegal by illegal means, such an agreement is called a criminal conspiracy.”
ATIKU DOES NOT ENJOY IMMUNITY SIMPLY BECAUSE HE IS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
I understand that the law-enforcement agencies may be reluctant to act simply because of the perception of persecution of a Presidential candidate that this may evoke.
However, facts are sacred. The facts so far presented to the world clearly indicate that Atiku Abubakar has a case to answer. In other climes when such serious allegations arose in the middle of campaigns, the law-enforcement agencies acted decisively. Recall, in 2016, in the middle of campaigns for the exalted office of the Presidency of the United States, the FBI opened investigation into allegation of misuse of private emails against Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. In fact, the case was referred to the Justice Department for likely prosecution few weeks to actual voting.
TAKE NOTICE that because this matter is of great national importance, I expect you to act with alacrity and a sense of duty within Seventy-Two (72) hours of the receipt of this petition.
TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that if you fail, refuse and/or neglect to act, I shall be proceeding to court to compel you to act.
The ball is in your court and Nigerians are waiting and watching,” he concluded.