By Henry Umoru
ABUJA— THE Senate, yesterday, asked the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, what he was trying to hide for approaching the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, seeking to stop its ongoing probe into the controversial recall of reinstatement and promotion of former chairman of Presidential Task Force on Pensions, Abdulrasheed Maina.
The application filed by Malami is, among others, contending that the Senate lacked the powers to proceed with its investigation into Maina’s recall by the executive arm of government.
Reacting to the development, yesterday, the Senate took a swipe at Malami, asking why he was running around the courts to stop the probe.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said in a statement, yesterday, that the Senate was surprised that the AGF, who had utilised the ample opportunity given to him by both chambers of the National Assembly to state his case on the Maina issue was now the one going to court to stop the legislature’s investigation.
According to the Senate, the Attorney General of the Federation must explain to Nigerians why he has been running around the courts seeking to stop the probe by the two chambers of the National Assembly.
The Senate said: “We are wondering what the AGF is afraid of. When he appeared before our committee, he was well received and fairly treated. He indeed expressed his happiness with the protection given to him by the committee handling the Maina case.
‘’Why then is it very important and urgent for him to stop the investigative hearing? What is the AGF trying to hide?”
“Let it be known that the legislature has the power of investigation on all institutions, bodies and individuals, particularly those who access funds that have been appropriated by us. We however expressed our commendation to the judiciary for upholding the principles of separation of powers and insisting on fair hearing.
‘’We believe that is the reason why the judge refused to grant the prayers of the AGF yesterday and rather insisted that the National Assembly should be put on notice and served all the court processes so that we could enter our own defence.
“While we respect the position of the court and would respond accordingly, the Senate has further directed the committee investigating the Maina issue to expedite action and submit their reports on time.
‘’The Senate believes Nigerians are interested in knowing the how, who , why and where of what is now known as the ‘Maina Gate’. We definitely will not allow those who want the facts buried to prevail.”
It would also be recalled that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had on October 24, constituted an adhoc committee chaired by the committee chairman on Public Service and Establishment, Emmanuel Paulker, PDP, Bayelsa Central.
The committee was mandated to investigate the circumstances surrounding the return of Maina to the country and how he returned to the civil service as a director.
Other members of the Ad- hoc Committee are the Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of Senate Committees on Anti- Corruption and Financial Crimes; Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; Interior and Vice Chairman of Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Services.
Saraki had said, “We are all very disturbed. I want the committee to work hard and bring this matter back to us. We need to investigate the bridge in our security and how the anti-corruption war is going.”