Quest for the Truth and Justice

It’s illegal keeping huge amount at home – Rabiu

Posted by on Apr 28th, 2017 and filed under Interviews, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Abdulhameed Muhammed Rabiu is a prolific lawyer with some so many laurels confirming his long standing in the legal profession. In this interview with KAYODE ADEOTI, the lead counsel of Abdulhameed Rabiu & Co. speaks on the position of law over the recent outburst on money recovered through whistleblowers in the country. Excerpts:

How do you see the fight against corruption in your profession?

The scenario is very appalling but we cannot conclude that the bar is corrupt at all that is to say, there is no corruption at the bar until a case of allegation of corruption is dragged to finality. We don’t convict people for mere allegation, a case must be proved beyond any reasonable doubt in court before it could be said that someone is guilty. The fact that people are arrested and arraigned in court doesn’t depict they are guilty however, the case of Justice Ademola is a good example, now they’ve been discharged and acquainted because nothing was found against them. However, all hands must be on deck to discourage prosecution of lawyers. When the allegations are made against lawyers, it derogate the profession, that is why a lawyer should indulge in what is not implicating, if somebody is being accused that is not the end, because court has not convicted the person. But, unfortunately, once an allegation is made against a person, the society will assume that the person is guilty of it. I am not saying there is no corruption in the bar but we cannot be affirmative about it

How would you react to the claim that the judiciary has been taken over by the influential in the society?

If you talk of getting the service of the best lawyer, I will agree with you but as regards the court, I hardly believe that our court is bought over because our courts are not cheap. There are guidelines to which the courts operate; corruption against our judges is very unlikely. They are strictly scrutinised before they assumed that seat even in employment, eagle eye is still on them, the NJC watches them and take report on them, and our judges are very circumspective. Nigerian judges are known for equity. The system is zero tolerance for corruption; the judges by their calling are much-respected people except where you have strong convincing allegation.

Nigerians are confused over the issue of Magu, some top lawyers have faulted the President for backing him up while some gave him the nod, can you put a face to the issue?

In the first place there was a kind of confusion as regards the position of confirmation of chairman of the agency; the confusion was brought about by the EFCC Act that stated that the appointment of the chairman is subject to the confirmation of the Senate, whereas the constitution is silenced about this. I align with the President; he ought not to have forwarded the name to the senate. The President occupies an executive position and the function of the National Assembly when you go by some sections in the constitution, is more of an oversight. We’ve heard issues like this in the past, but I wish this will be the last; it is always good if whoever finds himself in the position of Attorney-General to always consult on some germane issues like this, this will enable him have better privileges to advice the President. Lawyers are always encouraged to consult, no one is an Island, the confirmation of the Senate is not supreme, the constitution is supreme and it is binding on everybody, including the senate.

On the money recovered, different bodies, including the Rivers State Government have been laying claim to it, what is the position of the law on it?

I think both teams have to be truthful, if I could remember, the EFCC has swung into action and the Federal High Court has asked the claimants to come forward with genuine claims to the effect. We now have several people coming forward to say they own it.

(…cuts in) but is it right under the law to keep such amount in a residential apartment?)

It is an offense under the law, you don’t keep such huge amount in the house, that is to say that economically, we must be able to determine the rate of money that flows, when money are tied down, the result could be inflation and this could affect the country’s economy adversely because when money are not kept in the bank, there won’t be means to control or determine the inflow of it in the country.

Where do you think we are going with the issue of whistle blowing?

It has been a tremendous help to the country since the idea is enacted. It is what is obtainable in the past, we are only renewing the process of the law, every individual has to develop this, because it has something to give in return this time around that it comes with motivations. I see nothing wrong in that but I only advised better security for those who are providing the information

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