The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has defended the raids by the Department of State Services (DSS) on homes on some Judges last weekend.
Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday he justified the action and arrest of some Judges over allegations of corruption.
Malami said the government had resolved to fight corruption, and would not be deterred by class or reputation of suspects.
He noted that where crimes and criminality are concerned, nobody is an exception, adding, “I think the undertone should be exclusively the consideration of the existence of a prima facie case; existence of reasonable grounds for suspicion of commission of crime.”
He said it was an established order that when an individual Commits a crime, whether a member of the legislature, judiciary and executive, he has to face the music.
He said the Judges were not above the law and no any constitutional immunity shielding them from arrest or investigation.
The Minister, who spoke after inaugurating the Country Expert Review Committee for the Second Cycle of the Review of Implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, said there was prima facie case against the Judges who are still being expected to be arraigned in court soon.
He said: “The fundamental consideration is whether there is an allegation of the commission of a crime; whether there is the need for investigation, and whether the relevant provisions of the law and, indeed, all circumstances, as provided in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act are put into consideration in our conduct as regard the fight against corruption.
“The bottom line is that we have a responsibility to fight corruption. Corruption is a crime and nobody, regardless of how highly placed, is exempted as far as issues that border on crimes and criminalities are concerned.
“The limited exceptions, as we know constitutionally, are the exceptions of immunity. And to the best of my knowledge, those exceptions do not apply to investigation.
“For those that are conferred with the immunity, the right to investigate has not been taken away constitutionally.
“So, I think the framework and the circumstances within which we are operating are clearly whether there exists the right to investigate or not, and whether the action borders on criminality.
“Once crimes and criminality are concerned, nobody is an exception. I think the undertone should be exclusively the consideration of the existence of a prima facie case; existence of reasonable grounds for suspicion of commission of a crime.
“And if there are, no member of the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive can definitely be exempted from investigation. I think where we are now is the point of investigation and that is what is taking place.”