A Judge Can’t Hear His Own Case – AITA to EFCC

An Abuja based anti-corruption NGO; Almushahid Initiative for Transparency and Accountability (AITA) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to for the interest of fairness and justice ensure the Ministry of Niger Delta that is party to the Presidential Amnesty Program Office which AITA petitioned for alleged acts of disparity and fraudulent hike in tuition fee at Gregory University in Abia state do not turn to be a judge over the case.

In a press statement signed by its National President, Ambassador Aminu Abubakar Majidadi and made available to Capitalwatch Media, AITA said there is no justification in referring investigation of an alleged act of corruption to the ministry of Niger Delta which the Presidential Amnesty Program Office that is petitioned is in charge of granting scholarships to Niger Delta students at Gregory University, Uturu.

“AITA is of the submission that no-one should judge in his own cause. It is indeed in the principle of natural justice that no persons can judge a case in which they have an interest. Equally, the ministry of Niger Delta has no moral right for the interest of justice to investigate a case it forms a party.
“Recall, AITA has on the 30th March, 2021 petitioned the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Office and some other well-known persons of fraudulent practices in hiking the tuition fee of the Amnesty students to EFCC for investigation and prosecution.”

“AITA has absolute confidence in the EFCC and its Chairman who has the goodwill of Nigerians in his ability to fight corruption as a vibrant personality. However, it amazed us on receiving reply to our letter from EFCC dated 23rd June, 2021 with Ref. number: EFCC/GC/31/3943 which stated that EFCC has referred the case to the Ministry of Niger Delta for investigation which is detrimental to the desire for justice.

“Going by our documents, facts and figures as forwarded to us by a concerned Nigerian (the informant), the Amnesty Office has consistently used its deployed Amnesty students to fraudulently enrich themselves and some other pay masters to include the petitioner by making the affected students pay triple the amount of the actual fee Per Head. Among other documents with us is a copy of Gregory University, Uturu, fees summary for 2018/2019 Session.
“Our source also alleged that this fraudulent act in hike of fees is being aided and abetted by some persons and who are also beneficiary of the fraud having been constantly using the avenue of this act as a conduit pipe for their benefits and for their pay masters in the Amnesty Office (with names).”

In this regard, AITA as an anti-corruption NGO that has for decades proven utmost dedication in ensuring transparency and accountability in public and private institutions based on the principle of natural justice, we urge the EFCC that has track records in the fight against corruption to ensure the agency’s earlier decision to refer the case in question to the Ministry of Niger Delta is reversed and treated by EFCC.