Rights group wants former Justice Minister, Malami probed

By Samuel Ogunsona

The Federal Government has been asked to probe former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami

Under his watch, billions of funds were transacted by Government institutions and individuals

In a statement at the weekend, foremost Anti-corruption group, Human and Environmental Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) demanded thorough, immediate, and urgent investigation of Malami (SAN).

HEDA wants the anti corruption institutions to prosecute the former Justice Minister.

It called on the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission to probe Malami over several allegations of corruption and abuse of office against the former Attorney General.

In a four-page petition document signed by HEDA’s Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, and copied to the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the anti-corruption group decried the lack of investigation or report of any by the anti-corruption agencies of those allegations as conveyed by media reports and documentary evidence as it goes to the root of breakdown of law and order and total disregard for the rule of law while Mr. Malami served as Minister of Justice.

HEDA, citing a few of several corruption allegations against Mr. Abubakar Malami, mentioned ten alleged corrupt practice connected to his name which includes, distribution of 30 cars gifts worth over #1,000,000,000 (One Billion Naira) to his supporters in Kebbi State. The cars gifts widely reported by PremiumTimes on the 2nd day of May 2022 included 14 Mercedes Benz, 8 Prado SUVs, 4 Toyota Hilux and 4 Lexus LX and the beneficiaries were social media influences, executive members of Mr. Malami’s foundation and women support groups.

“Illegal auctioning of sea vessels holding crude oil seized by the Federal Government, violating Section 31(2) and (4) of the EFCC Act 2004 and assuming the role conferred on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission as reported by The Cable Newspaper on the 13th July, 2020.

“Alleged duplicity of payment of $16.9 million fees to two friends as new lawyers for the recovery of the loot traced to a former Nigerian Head of State, Sanni Abacha, after a Swiss lawyer, Enrico Monfrini, hired and fully paid by the previous government, to help in the recovery had completed his brief as reported by PremiumTimes on the 10th of April, 2018. it was alleged that Mr. Malami undertook the action with the intention for kickback from the deal.

“Allegedly seeking the withdrawal of cases against Bello Adoke, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Abubakar Aliyu and others involved in the Malabu scandal through his letters to former President Buhari on the ground of lack of significant evidence to prove allegations of sharp practices against prominent players in OPL 245 oil deal. As reported by PremiumTimes on the 18th of February, 2018.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has recovered the sum of $78million from this case and his office instituted cases on behalf of Nigeria in Italy and the United Kingdom against the same suspects.

Mr. Malami, has finally confessed to a conflict of interest in his recent book, “Traversing the Thorny Terrain of Nigeria’s Justice Sector; my Travails and triumphs” (page 30) that “…..Mr. Muhammad Bello Adoke, former Attorney-General, gifted some books, an office desk and chairs while setting up my new office. Though a friend to my principal, Mr. Adoke and I had developed a direct relationship and because of how frequently I was in court, Mr. Adoke gave me files to handle….”. This personal and conflicted relationship with Mr. Adoke was never disclosed while pretending to discharge his official functions over the matter.”

“Reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) into the Federal Civil Service under a controversial circumstances defying due process, and indicating compromise of Malami by Maina after his dismissal in 2013 for corruption and declared wanted by EFCC as reported by Daily Trust Newspaper of April 3rd 2018. This was after Malami admitted before Senate adhoc Committee that he met with Maina in Dubai, at a time when Maina was wanted by the EFCC for over N2billion corruption.”

“Mr. Malami also displayed his unpretentious hatred for the fight against corruption by writing a letter dated 16th December, 2016 to withdraw the case of fraud filed against Mr. Godsday Orubebe, the former Minister of Niger Delta, filed by the ICPC in a case involving over #1.97 billion, on the ground that, in his opinion, there was no basis for filing the charges.

Meanwhile, HEDA strongly believe that those allegations are too serious to be ignored or allowed to go without investigation, therefore demanded thorough, immediate, and urgent investigation of the term of former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami for the sanity of the public office and image of the country.

The Anti-corruption group who believes in the prevalence and sanctity of the rule of law, and due process, therefore asked the ICPC for diligent investigation and timeous action to restore the sanctity of the core mandate of the commission at the verge of collapse as a result of the alleged abuse of power and office by public office holders.

“We shall monitor developments on this petition and look forward to your timely response on actions embarked upon by your commission within reasonable time, considering the alleged former officer had exposed the country to unprecedented opprobrium with these and other condemnable mismanagement of his office and affairs of the country.

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