Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justic, has expressed his willingness to testify before the Justice Ayo Salami presidential panel, if he is summoned.
Malami, who stated this during an interview on Arise TV on Wednesday morning, was reacting to a letter by the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, calling on Salami to summon the AGF.
Malami also explained that he had nothing to hide and would not hesitate to give the Salami-led panel his full cooperation if need be.
In response to a question, the minister said: “So, if indeed the Ayo Salami panel invites Abubakar Malami as a person or the AGF in the person of Abubakar Malami for any testimony, for any clarification, for examination or cross-examination for that matter, Abubakar Malami will wholeheartedly, gladly within the spirit and context of the rule of law be there to testify, be there to be cross-examined, be there to be examined within the context of the rule of law.
“Our position as a government is to be submissive to the rule of law and the rule of law component of it requires that when we are called upon to clarify issues, when we are called upon to be examined, when we are called upon to be cross-examined, Abubakar Malami will be there and will gladly cooperate with the inquiry institution and that indeed was an attribute of the government that translated to the victory we are seeing today arising from P&ID.
“Abubakar Malami has along the line, within the chain of the arbitral process, submitted to uncountable invitations, responded to uncountable requests for clarification of issues and indeed executed uncountable witness statements for the purpose of putting the record straight and the case of Salami will certainly not be an exception.”
Speaking on another issue, the AGF said Nigeria cannot rule out negotiations between the Federal Government and Process and Industrial Development better known as P&ID.
Malami said negotiations are part of the legal process. He, however, said the government would be guided by the general interest of Nigerians since it had been able to establish that the P&ID contract was obtained through fraudulent means.
He further stated that negotiations after establishing a case of fraud would indeed be a “tall order.”
He stated, “Generally speaking, when it comes to judicial proceedings or perhaps arbitral proceedings for that matter, one cannot rule wholeheartedly with clear finality, conclude that there should not be perhaps any room for the possibility of settlement.
“The settlement is indeed an attribute of arbitral and judicial proceedings so you cannot rule out the possibility. But then, where fraud, corruption, material misrepresentation compromises processes and procedures are an issue, I wonder at what point you can now submit to the settlement arrangement taking into consideration what responsibility we have as a nation of sustaining and upholding the public interest.
“So, in as much as I cannot rule out the possibility of a settlement being a natural attribute of arbitral and indeed judicial proceeding, the fact remains that where fraud, corruption, criminality, criminal conspiracy, material misrepresentation are concerned, it is indeed a tall order.”
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