- Category: Law, Crime & Judiciary
- Published on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 11:11
- Written by The Nation
- Hits: 1768
The Federal Government has removed the acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Dr. Uriah Angulu, following the probe of an alleged N6billion fraud in the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and trial of a minister.
Investigation by The Nation indicated that Angulu was asked to proceed on terminal leave based on a letter from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN).
The March 12 letter, followed a purported directive to the Minister by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Angulu’s removal caught most (ICPC) officials unawares because he was expected to complete his tenure of two terms in office as a commissioner in July.
A top source said: “Ideally, even if anyone has to go on terminal leave, it should not be more than three months. And normally, the retiree used to serve statutory notice, not the government compelling it.
“We were all shocked by the speed with which the government hurriedly asked Angulu to vacate office.
“Even it was at the sudden handover on Tuesday that Angulu read his letter of compulsory terminal leave to the management of ICPC.
“The development cast a pall of gloom on the commission because Angulu’s removal was more than meets the eye.”
It was, however, gathered that the removal of Angulu was in connection with the presidency’s uncomfortable posture with the ‘recent combative anti-corruption drive of ICPC.’
Another highly-placed source in ICPC said: “Twice now, the government has expressed reservations about the activities of this commission.
“The manner in which ICPC charged Minister of State for Health, Suleiman Bello to court, for alleged corrupt enrichment of about N11.2million, was considered embarrassing to the Presidency.
“Although the AGF demanded the case file of Bello from ICPC, the row over exercise of the AGF’s powers in Section 174(1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, created image crisis for the government.
“The ICPC management also insisted in pursuing the case to its logical conclusion.
“Also, the ongoing investigation of alleged N6billion fraud in the NJI, whose Governing Council is headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, further strained the relationship between ICPC and the government.
“There has been pressure to halt the probe but ICPC and the CJN had to exchange hot correspondences on the matter.
“I think the government did not find Angulu amenable and decided to ask him to proceed on terminal leave.”
As at press time, top officials and workers of the NJI were celebrating Angulu’s removal.
“Have you heard what happened to the acting Chairman of ICPC? We warned him but he was adamant. Let him go on leave and continue with the probe,” the joyous source added.