4th January, 2012
Lagos State Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, says there is no sufficient evidence to prosecute the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde, for alleged certificate forgery.
Ipaye made this known in a written address filed at an Ikeja High Court in Lagos on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, had approached the court for an order of Mandamus compelling the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to exercise his discretion whether or not to prosecute Dikko.
Keyamo had alleged that Dikko forged two certificates belonging to the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) with the assistance of one Olajide Oyewole.
Ipaye urged the court to dismiss Keyamoâ€™s application because it was premature and lacked sufficient evidence from witnesses.
He said Keyamo had in a letter dated July 19, 2010, forwarded to him the information concerning the allegations against the customsâ€™ boss.
According to him, he requested the police vide a later dated July 28, 2010 to investigate the matter to enable him issue a legal opinion and take necessary steps.
Ipaye, who is also the Attorney-General, claimed that the police have yet to respond to the request, adding that it was, therefore, premature for Keyamo to seek for an Order of Mandamus.
He said: â€œThe information supplied was inadequate for the Attorney-General to make an informed decision whether to prosecute the customsâ€™ boss pursuant to Section 254 of (a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2011 (and not section 258(a) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law referred to by the applicant.
â€œThe draft charges are hinged on the alleged facts that the documents in question were not issued by NIM and WAEC.
â€œThe foregoing requires the issuing authorities to deny issuing the certificates in the first place; to date, there is no evidence from NIM that certificates 10912 and 10933 were stolen from its custody.
â€œThe issuing authorities are material witnesses whose evidence are fundamental for the respondent to decide one way or the other,â€ Ipaye added.
According to him, an Order of Mandamus must be predicated on a proper case previously shown to the satisfaction of the court.
Ipaye said: â€œFor the Attorney-General to exercise his right under Section 254(a) of the law, he must be satisfied that an offence has been committed.
â€œIt is upon being satisfied that the offence has been committed that the Attorney-General may decide or decline to prosecute the said offence.
The Attorney-General said Keyamo had failed to show that his demand was deliberately not being dealt with or that the DPP had decided not to prosecute the matter.
â€œIt is submitted that the application for judicial review for an Order of Mandamus filed by the applicant is standing on a weak wicket; it has no foundation either in law or in fact, and it is deserving of being struck out immediately,â€ he said.
Justice Yetunde Idowu adjourned the case to January 11.