The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, has faulted a former Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Suleiman, regarding the culpability of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the current anti-corruption cases.
Suleiman, who is the spokesperson for the Peoples Democratic Party Ministers’ Forum, had said that Jonathan could not be held liable because no stolen funds had been traced to the ex-president’s personal bank accounts.
The ex-minister had said, “All these issues of corruption under Jonathan happened between March and April last year. It was purely an election issue. Nobody has traced any money to Jonathan’s account up till now, but money was traced to Abacha’s accounts.”
However, Sagay told Punch Newspaper during an interview on Sunday that although he could not say if there was a case against Jonathan or not yet, the ex-President could be held liable if it could be established that Jonathan made illegal approvals for funds to be paid into other people’s accounts.
He said if, for instance, it could be established that Jonathan gave the Central Bank of Nigeria a directive to pay someone money and the person was not deserving of that money, then the ex-President could be indicted.
Sagay, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, added, “Only the EFCC can say if Jonathan is culpable. Guilt in criminal law requires proof and there must be evidence. So, what I would say is that if a case can be established against Jonathan as regards public funds, then he has a case to answer.
“I don’t know if that has been done. I have not seen anybody who says he was given the money by Jonathan himself although one can say that instructions to any institution that public funds should be released to other people for purposes, which those funds were not designated, is in itself a criminal affair.
“So, it is not only when money is found on you that you have a case to answer. If you are a person in authority, and you issue directives to people under you, who are keeping public funds like the Governor of the Central Bank, and an illegal order is given to him for the release of funds, that, in itself, will raise a case for Jonathan to answer if in fact he issued such an order.”
Another SAN, Mr. Yusuf Ali, said it was too early to exonerate anyone as investigations into corruption that took place under the previous administration were still ongoing.
Ali stated, “The whole process is ongoing. Investigations are still ongoing. Until somebody is convicted, nothing bad can be said about such person. I believe when we get to the bridge, we shall cross it.
“There is no point for anybody to be excited or be happy for now until the whole story is in the open. Investigations are ongoing.”