Nigeria’s attorney-general and minister of justice (AGF), Abubakar Malami has denied that he advised the federal government to halt investigations into the Malabu Oil scandal and the prosecution of former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje.
A statement issued on Friday in Abuja by the special assistant on media and public relations to the AGF, Dr Umar Gwandu said he has never at any time stated anywhere or advised any person or authority that there was no prima facie case in the Malabu scandal.
“I unequivocally maintain that all persons indicted by the EFCC’s investigation report as regards the OPL 245 Malabu be prosecuted in accordance with the relevant laws.
“I have maintained that the investigation should be watertight and intensified to ensure that all essential elements of the alleged offences are established through a thorough and detailed investigation before proceeding to court with a view to filing success-driven charges against the suspects’’, the statement explained.
He said that it is common knowledge that since the EFCC filed charges against the suspects in Malabu Oil case before both the Federal and FCT High Courts, he has not at any time approached either of the courts to withdraw the charges even though he has the power to do so pursuant to Section 174 of the constitution.
He said “The assertion that the AGF misled the President that there is no case in the Malabu Oil deal is not only laughable but ridiculous and should therefore be disregarded by the right-thinking members of the general public.
“The AGF has been pursuing the case in Italy in relation to OPL 245 Malabu deal and has registered as interested parties in the ongoing case. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) sued JP Morgan in London.
“The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Nigeria on Oct. 8 2019 and dismissed JP Morgan Chase Bank claim to dismiss the FRN Claim and stated that JP Morgan Chase Bank has a case to answer in the FRN Claim.
“It is interesting to note that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation is pursuing traces of crime in relation to Malabu OPL 245 in Switzerland and Netherlands. The AGF remains resolute in looted asserts recovery and the general fight against corruption”, he insisted.
Regarding the allegation of withdrawal of the corruption case of N25 billion against Sen. Danjuma Goje, he said it was misleading to think that the AGF withdrew the case.
“The EFCC had filed a 21- count charge of N8 billion against Senator Goje and had been prosecuting same for over eight years without the AGF’s interference. Although after a no case submission filed by Goje, 19 of the 21 counts making up the N8 Billion were struck out by the court leaving only two counts bordering on the manner in which the sale of some old buses belonging to Gombe State Transport Company between 2003 and 2011 were handled under his watch.
“It was the said last two counts that the AGF thoroughly reviewed in 2019 and having found no prima facie case, withdrew in exercise of his constitutional power pursuant to Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution.”
Malami’s attempts to explain his role in these cases came after Transparency International (TI) dismissed President Muhammadu Buhari regime’s anti-corruption stance as hoax, thereby rating Nigeria low on its corruption perception index. TI cited Goje’s incident as atypical example of the federal government negotiates away corrupt cases for political gains.