PAPSD Rejects Court Ruling on Mandamus to Probe Yari

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• Asks lawyer to appeal decision

Tobi Soniyi

The Patriots for the Advancement of Peace and Social Development (PAPSD) has rejected the judgment of a Federal High Court that its application for an order of mandamus to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to prosecute a former of Zamfara State Governor, Abubakar Yari was statute barred.

In a statement after the judgment, PAPSD Executive Director, Dr Abdullahi Sani Shinkafi in Abuja, said the judge misdirected himself and consequently fell into error in dismissing the application.

He said that the judgment of the court would be tested on appeal as the counsel to the group, Mr. Ifeanyi Mbaeri had been instructed to file an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

He also clarified that contrary to misleading reports in the media, the case was not filed by the EFCC but by PAPSD, a non-governmental organization and its Shinkafi.

They had approached the Federal High Court via an ex-parte application for leave to apply for an order of mandamus to compel EFCC to investigate petitions of the applicants wrote against Yari, top government functionaries, individuals and private companies for alleged misappropriation of state funds, abuse of office and conversion of public funds and resources.

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Shinkafi explained the case thus: “The ex-parte application for leave was moved before Justice Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja on December 7, 2020. It was adjourned to December 18, 2020 for ruling and subsequently to February 4, 2021. Delivering its ruling, the court on its own raised the issue of the application for mandamus being statute barred.
According to the court, the application was filed more than three months from the dates of the three documents exhibited in the application, i.e.: Report of Zamfara State Project Verification Committee set up by the Executive Governor of Zamfara State Hon. Bello Muhammed (Matawallen Maradun), dated February 2020; Report of Zamfara State Local Government Projects Verification Committee, dated January 2020; and 2019 Transition Committee Report dated July 2019.

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Shinkafi said: “it must be pointed out that the three government reports listed above were not the basis of the application for mandamus. The foundation of the application was EFCC’s failure to investigate 15 petitions it received from PAPSD and its Executive Director.
“The three reports were exhibited in the application to lend credence to the allegations contained in the uninvestigated petitions of the applicants to EFCC. Unfortunately, the Federal High Court Abuja, presided over by Justice Okon Abang, relied on the dates of these reports in calculating the 3 months period required to file an application for mandamus, under Order 34 Rule 4 of the Federal High Court Rules.

“The court did not look at the dates of the petitions of the applicants which are the subject matters of the mandamus. Had the court looked at the petitions, it would have seen that the last petition to EFCC was dated July 8, 2020 and was received by the commission on July 9, 2020. Two weeks later, the suit was filed on July 21, 2020.

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“In the same vein, had the court given our counsel the opportunity to address it on the issue of limitation of time it raised suo motu, the attention of the court would have been drawn to the last petition of the applicants dated July 8, 2020; duly exhibited in the application for leave.
“In an unprecedented manner, the court dismissed the application for leave, stating that it was filed more than 3 months after the cause of action arose.”

He nevertheless expressed delight that the EFCC was already investigating Yari, a move he said had vindicated his organisation.

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