The recent advisory list of politicians standing trial for various charges of fraud released by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) cannot stop those affected from contesting in the forthcoming elections, previous Supreme Court rulings show. EFCC recently released a list of politicians standing trial for fraud advising political parties not to field them as flag bearers in subsequent elections.
The Supreme Court had however ruled on various cases involving politicians disqualified by the EFCC from contesting in the 2007 general elections that the anti-graft agency lacks the power to stop contestants.
Ruling on a case between Otunba Oyewole Fashawe and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) in 2006 on the inclusion of the plaintiff on the EFCC list, the Supreme Court ruled in a judgment delivered by Hon. Justice Inumidun Akande that “With regards to the investigation report of the EFCC in exhibit 2 attached, prepared and submitted by the 2nd respondent (EFCC) to the President of Nigeria as averred in the affidavit, it has no probative value.
“This is because Section 5 of the Act and Section 6 of the Act set out the functions and special powers of the 2nd respondent.
The functions do not include power to prepare the report as in exhibit 2 and submit same to the President of Nigeria as done in this case.”
The EFCC also made the list of alleged corrupt politicians available to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which used it to disqualify some contestants from standing in the 2007 elections.
The Supreme Court ruled against INEC saying it lacks the power to disqualify a candidate on the basis of the EFCC list as only the courts can do so.
The Court ruled in a case between then Presidential Candidate of the Action Congress, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and INEC that “Section 137(1) of the 1999 Constitution does not confer on the INEC the power to disqualify any candidate from contesting election, either expressly or by necessary implication. Moreover, there is nowhere in the Constitution where any such power is conferred on INEC to disqualify any candidate.”
Just like it did in 2007, EFCC has released a list of about 40 politicians standing trials for various charges of fraud and corrupt practices saying they should not be allowed to contest elective offices in the forthcoming elections.
Unlike in 2006 when EFCC forwarded the list to then President Olusegun Obasanjo and INEC, the anti-graft agency this time has sent the list to the political parties with a view of stopping affected politicians from being nominated as candidates in the polls.
Some of the prominent names on the latest EFCC list of politicians to be barred from contesting elections include, former state governors, Saminu Turaki, Ayo Fayose, Orji Uzor Kalu, James Ibori, Lucky Igbinedion, Joshua Dariye, Jolly Nyame, Chimaroke Nnamani, Micheal Botmang, Boni Haruna, Abdullahi Adamu, Rasheed Ladoja, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa.