The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has once more disassociated himself from the allegation of illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at $2.4 billion, insisting that it’s false.
The minister had, during an appearance before the House of Representatives adhoc committee investigating the alleged loss which occurred in 2015, including crude oil exports from 2014 till date, on April 27, 2023, described the allegations as baseless and unfounded.
But reappearing before the committee chaired by Hon. Mark Gbillah, the minister stood by his earlier submission on the matter.
“The allegation was the fact that the Attorney General was a member of the committee and I responded, I was not a member of any committee put in place in that respect,” he said.
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 insisted: “No documents was made available to me relating to this, I’m talking about a document made available by the whistle-blower or the one made available by the system.
“Even when I was 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 Attorney General as well review its archives, review these documents and if there’s 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’s Office has succeeded in recovering over $1 billion to the Nigerian state over time.
“We have submitted documents you requested, if there 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.”
Reacting, the Committee Chairman, Hon. Gbillah noted that if there was any allegation against him, it was not from the committee or the parliament.
While saying that the lawmakers appreciated him clearing the air on the particular matter, Gbillah urged the minister to, after his valedictory session, still be available to respond to queries.
On assets and whistle-blowers’ recoveries, Gbillah directed the minister to provide the parliament with statement of accounts details of any outstanding for the period under review, communication with the Central Bank of Nigeria, their response and communication with the ministry of finance.
Responding, Malami directed the lawmakers to get the required information from the Central Bank of Nigeria and Accountant General of the Federation.
Udora Orizu in Abuja