The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN); and two civil society organisations – the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders and the Social-Economic Accountability Rights Project – have knocked Saraki for criticising the government’s anti-corruption fight, describing it as “inappropriate”.
The groups pointed out that Saraki was also part of the Federal Government that he criticised.
The Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, on Monday, noted that Saraki was involved in several allegations of corruption, adding that it was not surprising that he had chosen to attack the anti-corruption agencies.
He said, “You have three arms of government and Saraki is the head of one of them. All the laws under which the Federal Government operates, emanate from the National Assembly. If any department of the government is failing, the Senate has oversight functions. If Saraki accuses the government of being sensational, he is part of the sensationalism.
“Also, because Saraki is psychologically involved in all the accusations, especially levelled by the EFCC, and the Code of Conduct Tribunal, you will expect that he will discredit the agencies bringing him to the fore. Also, because the executive has not risen to cover up the Senate members undergoing investigations, the Senate President will not be in good terms with the executive.
“The Senate President should be ashamed to say that a government, where he is number three, is sensational.”
Also, the Executive Director, SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said, “The Senate President is entitled to his opinions, but he should concentrate on matters of legislation that will help the anti-corruption agencies to do better; not to deride them.
“What Saraki is saying is that the legislative arm of government is not on the same page with the executive as far as war against corruption is concerned. But Nigerians can judge; they know that the war against corruption has been different from what it used to be.”
Also, Sagay faulted Saraki over his claims that the anti-graft agencies were involved in more of showmanship than investigation.
Sagay said his committee had effectively advised the anti-graft agencies on how to gather evidence that would be acceptable in court.
He said the main problem was that high-profile individuals had amassed “satanic sums of money” which could pervert the course of justice.
Sagay added, “My reaction to that is that in every endeavour being mounted against very powerful people, who have accumulated enough money, even more than the states, it is always going to be very tough. So, we will lose some (cases), learn from that and then improve.
“So, it is not showmanship. It is a tough struggle against the dark satanic forces that have run down the country’s economy and they are very powerful; so, it is a very tough struggle and we will carry on and we will get better and better with time.”
The PACAC chairman said following the advice of his committee, anti-graft agencies had begun to change their strategies which would yield positive results soon.
Sagay added, “We are teaching them not to have a sole investigator but a team who will work with the prosecutors so that the prosecutors can advise the investigator exactly what to look out for in terms of the ingredients constituting the offence; so, he doesn’t just go on a wild goose chase and bring irrelevant evidence.
The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said the Senate President was entitled to his opinion.
“He is entitled to his opinion; so, there is nothing to respond to,” Uwujaren said.