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Malami dismisses claim on illegal sale of 48m barrels of oil

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The Minister of Justice, and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, on Thursday described as baseless the claim that his office illegally sold 48 million barrels of oil worth $2.4 billion in 2015.

Malami stated this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee probing the alleged illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil in Abuja.

The House had in December last year set up the committee to investigate a whistleblower’s claim that the 48 million barrels of Bonny Light crude were sold illegally in China in 2015.

The committee was also mandated to investigate all crude oil exports, and sales in Nigeria from 2014 till date, including the oil proceeds recovered through the Federal Government whistleblower policy.

However, the AGF dismissed the whistleblower’s report, and revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, the then Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, and the late former Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, to look into the allegations at the time.

He stated that no action was taken on the issue as his office had reported to Buhari that the authenticity of the allegations cannot be ascertained. But the committee pointed out that it got reports that Malami recovered the funds through the whistleblower’s policy without remitting such to the federation account.

READ ALSO: $2.4 Oil Scam: Reps again fix Thursday for Malami’s appearance

The panel also alleged that the AGF was involved in the payment of $200 million to two companies for consultancy service. The minister countered the allegations and insisted that his office does not receive funds on behalf of the government. Malami said: “Let me state on record and for the benefit of Nigerians and the committee that the allegations relating to the 48 million barrels are baseless.

The allegation is unfounded. It lacks merit and indeed substance. “The allegation in its own right is devoid of any reasonable ground pointing to a material suspicion cogent enough to invoke the constitutional oversight of the committee.

“Sometimes in 2016, allegations were rife and hyped in social media. There were allegations of the existence of stolen 48 million barrels of Nigerian crude in China said to have been valued at N2.4 billion.

“But unfortunately, for there to be a reasonable ground for suspicion, at least, you require certain basic facts. The basic details of the existence of the product and connecting it to Nigeria were not there at all. “The vessel perhaps that took it, the particulars and details of the vessel — were not available at our disposal at all.”

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