The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has stated that the allegation against him for the alleged illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at $2.4 billion, is baseless.
The minister stated this during his appearance before the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, chaired by Hon. Mark Gbillah, 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.
In his earlier appearance before the committee, a month ago, Malami had described the allegation as baseless.
Similarly, the minister during his reappearance before the committee with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice/Solicitor-General of the Federation, Beatrice Jedy-Agba on Thursday, stated that he still stands by his earlier submission on the matter.
He noted that 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 to establish a case relating to $2.4 billion alleged revenue loss.
“No documents were 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 based on 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 regards 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,” he said.
Meanwhile, in his reaction to the development, Gbillah, the committee chairman, stated that if there is any allegation against him, it was not from the committee or the parliament.
However, the chairman who appreciated Malami for clearing the air on the issue, urged the minister to be available for further interrogation, after his valedictory session.
The committee boss however, while speaking on datasets and whistleblower recoveries, urged 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
In his response, 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 with the assets recovery account, because the only thing available at the disposal of the office of the Attorney General is perhaps the confirmation of receipts, by a recovery agent issued to us by CBN. It’s not within the AGF office to be a custodian of the account,” he said.