Alleged Corruption: ICPC begins probe of Malami

Abuja—The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has stated that it is investigating allegations of corruption and abuse of office against former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over allegations of corruption and abuse of office.

The ICPC stated this in a memo dated July 19, 2023, signed by H.S. Folaranmi, for the chairman, which was obtained by SaharaReporters on Monday.

The ICPC in a response to a petition filed by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), a Nigeria-based non-governmental organisation, said in its memo, “I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your petition on the above subject and to inform you that necessary action is being taken on the matter.”

In the HEDA petition dated, July 10, and obtained by SaharaReporters, the civic organisation through its chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, had written, “This petition is submitted to bring to your attention and demand investigation into allegations of corruption and abuse of office against the former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN).

“We are perturbed by lack of investigation or report of any by the anti-corruption agencies of several reports of corrupt practices and abuse of office levelled against the person and revered position occupied by Mr Malami, being the number one law officer of the country.

“Some of these allegations as conveyed in the media reports and documentary evidence go to the root of breakdown of law and order and total disregard for the rule of law while Mr. Malami served as Justice Minister. These allegations serve as a slap in the face of the anti-corruption agencies and Nigerian people. The failure to respond to many of these allegations presents the agencies before the ordinary citizen as toothless anti-corruption bodies and further emboldens affected public officer.

“Below are but a few of several corruption allegations against Mr. Abubakar Malami; On the 2nd day of May 2022, it was widely reported by various news outlets that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Abubakar Malami SAN distributed 30 car gifts worth over N1,000,000,000:00 (One Billion Naira) to his supporters in Kebbi State. The car gifts included 14 Mercedes Benz, 8 Prado SUVs, 4 Toyota Hilux and 4 Lexus LX.

“Beneficiaries of the car gifts as reported by PremiumTimes were social media influencers, executive members of Malami’s foundation and women support groups.

“Two, 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 Crimes Commission as reported by The Cable Newspaper on the 13th July, 2020. The AGF also authorized the sale of these vessels by companies under EFCC prosecution for similar offence of illegal bunkering and this action was admitted by the AGF through his Media Assistant pleading presumption of innocence on the part of the accused, in a case being prosecuted by the Federal Government through the EFCC.

“Three, Ordering the stoppage of investigation of a multi-billion Naira fraud involving Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NISRAL); by a letter ordering the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the State Security Service (SSS) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to all stop investigating the financial misappropriation in NIRSAL, allegedly describing the investigations as an “unhealthy competition” and “sheer waste of government resources”. This was reported by Saharareporters on the 21st June, 2020 and copy of the letter posted.

“Four, 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 a kickback from the deal allegedly seeking the withdrawal of the 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 Premium Times on the 18th of February, 2018.

“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.

“On 18th November, 2018, Mr Malami, through a lawyer from his office, Mr Pius Akuta, appeared before a Lagos State High Court to withdraw a case of fraud filed by EFCC against one Dr. John Abebe, a businessman and younger brother to late Stella Obasanjo, but the illegal move was resisted before justice Dada of the Lagos State High Court, on the ground that the AGF has no constitutional power to take over a case filed in the Lagos State High Court, under the fiat of the State Attorney General.

“This was a clear case of abuse of power that must have been informed by compromise of the AGF office under Mr. Malami.

“Mr. Malami allowed the breach of Covid-19 protocol and regulations at his son’s wedding thereby putting the lives of Nigerians at risk. Please note that in Ghana, a minister resigned from his position because he breached the country’s Covid-19 protocols. This action was a clear abuse of office as the serving Attorney General and Minister of Justice at the time of the action.

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 your Commission in a case involving over N1.97billion, on the ground that, in his opinion, there was no basis for filing the charges. We demand your review of Mr. Malami’s involvement and action in this case for appropriate action on both Mr. Malami and the suspect.”

“We strongly believe that the above allegations are too serious to be ignored or allowed to go without investigation and by this petition, we demand thorough, immediate, and urgent investigation of the term of former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, the veracity or otherwise of these allegations is essential for the sanity of the public office and image of the country.

“We believe in the prevalence and sanctity of the rule of law, and due process which is why we are forwarding this petition to your office for diligent investigation and timeous action to restore the sanctity of the core mandate of your commission at the verge of collapse as a result of the alleged abuse of power and office by public office holders.”

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