President Muhammadu Buhari has received calls from some Civil Society organisation to sack Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, and replace him with someone else because he payed $17 million to Lawyers he engaged for the repatriation of $321 million Abacha loot.
Recall that Enrich Monfrini, a Swiss Lawyer, hired by the Federal Government since 1999, for the recovery of the loot, has already completed the job, and has been paid his fee. In a series of interviews, Monfrini insisted that there was no need for the AGF to engage new Lawyers. Rather than write directly to the Swiss authorities, to seek the transfer of the funds to Nigeria, Malami, however, engaged Oladipo Okpeseyi, and Tope Adebayo, for the purpose, and despite the outcry, the Lawyers were eventually paid secretly.
According to Legit.ng, the coalition, which is made up of SAY NO CAMPAIGN, YES Project, YIAGA AFRICA, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, AFRICMIL, The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Cable Foundation, Action Aid Nigeria, and Lawyers Network Against Corruption, LAWNAC, made the call at a Press Conference in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Part of the statement by Ezenwa Nwagwu, the Convener of the Say No Campaign, who spoke on behalf of the Coalition read:
“We recall the shady deal involving the Minister, which led to the approval for payment of a highly controversial and contentious payment of $17 million, to two Lawyers, for an already concluded deal on the repatriation of the Abacha loot, from the Swiss Bank. One of the greatest disappointments in the fight against corruption under this administration, has come from the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, whose actions and inactions have continued to bring shame to the proclaimed anti-corruption campaign of the administration, and huge losses to Nigeria.
“Statutory provisions make the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, pivotal to the fight against corruption, charging its occupant with the sole responsibility to deliver justice, in PUBLIC INTEREST, in its actions, inactions, and decisions. This is as contained in sections 174 (1) (2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. Sadly, Nigerians recall many shady and odious roles the current Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has played to deliberately frustrate the fight against corruption, the last three years.”
Malami was also accused of superintending over a “systematic strategy of frustrating the Freedom of Information, FoI, Law, as government Agencies have found cover and a new boldness to ignore and treat with impunity, the many FOI requests, in order to frustrate any accountability effort by concerned public”. In its recommendations, the Coalition said that as Buhari prepares for swearing-in and commencement of his second term, on May 29, he should “immediately relieve and replace the current Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Malami, in order to salvage the fight against corruption, and recover public confidence and support for the fight against corruption.”