Nothing to hide in probe of illegal $2.4bn oil sale - Malami

By Starrys Obazei | May 26, 2023.
starrys@ddnewsonline.com

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malamu, has said he knows nothing about the alleged illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at $2.4 billion.

Malami stated this when he appeared before the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the alleged loss of over $2.4 billion in revenue from the illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil export in 2015 including all crude oil exports and sales from 2014 till date chaired by Hon. Mark Gbillah.

Malami had at an earlier appearance before the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the alleged loss in 2015, including crude oil exports from 2014 till date a month ago, described the allegation as baseless and unfounded.

Also, reappearing before the committee with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice/Solicitor-General of the Federation, Beatrice Jedy-Agba on Thursday,
the minister said he still stands by his earlier submission on the matter.

According to him, at no point in time was he ever a member of any formal committee, and not a single document was forwarded to him for his consideration, and capacity as the AGF or review for the purpose of establishing a case relating to $2.4 billion alleged revenue loss.

Malami said: “No document was made available to me relating to this, I’m talking about a document made available by the whistleblower or the one made available by the system. Even when I am invited by this committee, not a single document was made available to me for consideration.

“In the absence of facts, in the absence of documents being presented for my consideration by the National Assembly, in the absence of documents being presented to me by the executive for consideration, in the absence of my participation in any subject matter of investigation, it’s not out of place for me to conclude that there’s no justifiable, reasonable ground basis for such consideration.

“I think we can proceed on the basis of collaboration. And the basis for that is for the committee to make available what document it has at its disposal so that the office of the attorney general as well review its archives and review these documents and if there’s a need for questions and answers we can proceed on that understanding. Any investigation that has the capacity of bringing one dollar to Nigeria I will be a party to it.

“I will support it, under my watch, the attorney general office has succeeded in recovering over one billion dollars to the Nigerian state over time. We have submitted the documents you requested, if there is a need for further engagement, with regard to the documents you claim to have at your disposal my suggestion is for us to review what’s presented on my part and yours.”

Reacting, the committee chairman, Gbillah noted that if there is any allegation against him, it was not from the committee or the parliament.

While appreciating Malami for clearing the air on that particular matter, Gbillah urged the minister to after his valedictory session, still be available to respond to queries.

On assets and whistleblower recoveries, Gbillah directed the minister to provide the parliament with a statement of account details of any outstanding, for the period under review, communication with the CBN, their response, and communication with the Ministry of Finance.

Responding, Malami asked the lawmakers to get the required information from the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Accountant General of the Federation.

“What I suggest as far as investigative oversight is concerned, is write to the office of the accountant general to avail you with assets recovery acct generally maintained by the Federal Government.

“Write to the Governor of the Central Bank to avail you of the the account,” he said.

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