Individuals questioned by the police and suspected to be involved in the forgery of the Senate Standing Orders used to conduct the leadership elections of the current 8th Senate will know whether or not they will be prosecuted this week.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), gave this indication in a telephone chat with our The PUNCH on Friday.
The police, which investigated the alleged forgery, had sent a 13-page report of investigation to the Federal Ministry of Justice for legal advice in July 2015.
But the ministry had raised some concerns about some “grey” areas in the report and sought for clarification from the police.
It could not be ascertained if the police investigators had addressed the prosecutors’ concern, but Malami confirmed to The PUNCH on Friday that his office was studying the file on the case in order to take appropriate steps on it.
The chief law officer said he would take decision on it in about a week.
Malami said, “It depends on the outcome of the investigation and the analysis of the investigation that was conducted.
“The file is being studied by my office among others for the purpose of taking appropriate steps. We will look into the existing facts to see whether a prima facie case can be said to have occasioned, so that we can take appropriate steps.
“You can give us a week to allow us to form appropriate opinion.”
The allegedly forged 2015 version of the Senate Standing Orders was used to conduct the election which produced Bukola Saraki as Senate President and Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President shortly after the proclamation of the current 8th Senate on June 9, 2015.
The police had investigated the alleged forgery of the Senate Orders following a petition by Senator Sulaiman Hunkuyi of the All Progressives Congress from Kaduna State.
The petition had alleged that some parts of the 2015 Senate Orders were different from the one ratified by the 6th Senate and was used by the 7th Senate, as Standing Orders 2011.
The police had, during their investigation on July 6, 2015, questioned some members of the 7th and the 8th Senates, as well as some management employees of the Senate, including the Clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
It was alleged that the 2011 version of the Senate Orders was secretly altered by some individuals to produce the 2015 edition.
While the 2011 Order Rule 3(3) (e) provides for manual voting and open ballot in the election of the Senate President and the Deputy Senate President, the 2015 Orders allows electronic and secret ballot voting in the said elections.
Also, while Rule 3(3)(k) of the 2011 Order makes it mandatory for all members to participate in the process of electing the Senate President and Deputy Senate President, the reverse is the case under the 2015 Orders.
The 2011 Orders, Rule 3(3)(k) reads, “All Senators-elect shall participate in the nomination and voting for President and Deputy President of the Senate.”
But similar provision in Rule 3(3)(i) in the 2015 Orders reads, “All Senator-elect are entitled to participate in the voting for Senate President and Deputy Senate President.”
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions had, on July 27, received the police report, which sought legal advice from the Attorney General of the Federation on the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Orders based on the facts revealed by police investigation.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice had yet to be appointed for the ministry as of that time.