A civil society group, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has advocated for the probe of Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF),Abubakar Malami (SAN), over Nigeria’s $60 billion allegedly trapped in the United States.
The Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, in a statement on Friday, cited a revelation by the Prosecutor, Special Presidential Panel on Asset Recovery (SPPAR), Tosin Ojaomo, who said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allegedly stashed $60 billion of public funds in America.
While speaking before the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the Probe of Recovered Looted Funds and Assets of Government, Ojaomo had disclosed that Malami retrieved the case file from the body and that efforts by the panel to recover the funds were frustrated by Malami.
In the statement, CACOL noted that a situation whereby the chief law officer of the country is being accused of working against its interests after vowing to protect its constitution, is disheartening.
“The fact that a Minister of Justice can easily subvert the course of justice by manipulating the agencies under his Ministry is not encouraging in a democratic dispensation like ours,” the statement reads.
“In the alleged nolle prosequi entered in many high-profile corruption cases, alleged obstruction of requests for assistance in corruption investigation from international partners, alleged sale of forfeited oil vessel by the AGF through suspects under trial and his role in the alleged payment of the suspicious legal fees for the return of $321m to Nigeria by the Swiss government.
“Whether at the legislative, judiciary or Executive arm, would do well to adhere to international best practices and Nigerian 1999 constitution (as amended) which in no small measure sets clear ethical standards that must guide our public office holders.”
The anti-corruption body said it recalled that along with some other non-governmental organizations, a letter was sent to President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure accountability in the investigations at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the recovered stolen assets in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), nothing has been done so far, but expressed hope that with the revelation by Ojaomo, the issue will not be swept under the carpet like other ones in the past.
The body called on anti-graft agencies to look into the allegation against Malami and the NNPC and take necessary steps to prosecute the minister if found culpable.
By Isaac Dachen
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