Law News
Justice ministry writes police over Senate forgery probe

The Federal Ministry of Justice, through its Directorate of Public Prosecutions, has sent a letter to police authorities at the Force Headquarters in Abuja, stating its position and seeking clarifications on the report of an investigation into the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Order 2015,The PUNCH has learnt.

A source at the police headquarters told our correspondent on Monday that the police were expected to respond to the ministry’s letter before the end of the week.

Our correspondent confirmed on Monday that 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 investigation.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has yet to be appointed for the ministry.

A credible police source, who sought not to be named because he was not authorised to comment on the case, said the ministry had conveyed to the police its “feelings” about the report and sought clarifications about it in the letter.

The source did not disclose the content of the letter but said it had to do with some “grey areas in the police report”.

“They (the ministry) stated their legal position on some of the issues and also sought some clarifications. That’s all for now,” the source said.

It was gathered that the grey areas, which the ministry was seeking clarification on, included information on the “group of senators” involved in the illegal amendment.

The 13-page police report — as reported in the media — had confirmed that the amendment of the 2011 version of the Senate Standing Orders to produce the 2015 edition was criminally done as it was carried out by only a group of senators.

The police report, however, failed to indict any particular person and also did not recommend anybody for prosecution.

The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Dan’Azumi Doma, who was said to have signed the report, had recommended that the report be forwarded to the Attorney General of the Federation to determine whether a crime had been committed or whether the alleged offence could be regarded as an internal affair of the Senate.

The allegedly forged report was used to convene the first meeting of the Senate and for the conduct of the Senate leadership elections which produced Dr. Bukola Saraki as the Senate President and Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President.

Acting on a petition by Senator Sulaiman Hunkuyi of the All Progressives Congress from Kaduna State, the police had investigated the alleged forgery.

The petition had alleged that some parts of the 2015 Senate Orders were different from the one ratified by the 6th Senate in 2010, which was used by the 7th Senate, as Standing Orders 2011.

The police had, during their investigation on July 6, 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, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa.

Another source from the Ministry of Justice also confirmed to our correspondent on Monday that the ministry had sent its position on the report of investigation to the police.

Though the source could not confirm when exactly the letter was sent to the police authorities, he said the ministry would take its final decision upon receiving the reply of the police.

“It is expected that the police will reply to the letter before the end of the week,” the source said.

When contacted on Monday, the Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Information, Mr. Charles Nwodo, said he was not aware that any letter had been sent to the police over the alleged forgery case.

A study of the controversial 2015 Senate Standing Orders, Rule 3, as contained on page four of the document, which had to do with the election of presiding officers, showed that it was different from the 2011 Senate Standing Orders.

Rules 3(e) (i) and (ii) had been included in the 2015 document to accommodate electronic voting and secret ballot, whereas secret ballot and ballot papers were not specifically mentioned in the 2011 Standing Orders.

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