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Abacha Loot: CSOs ask senate to reject Malami over ‘dubious’ $15m lawyers fee

Abacha Loot: CSOs ask senate to reject Malami over ‘dubious’ $15m lawyers fee
July 25
13:39 2019
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A coalition of civil society organisations has asked the senate under the leadership of Ahmad Lawan to reject the nomination of Abubakar Malami as a minister. 

Malami is one of the ministerial nominees currently undergoing screening at the senate.

While serving as the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) in President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term, he had engaged Oladipo Okpeseyi and Temitope Adebayo, two Nigerian lawyers, for the recovery of $321 million Abacha Loot from Switzerland.

But Enrico Monfrini, a Swiss lawyer who had been on the recovery job since 2000, had told TheCable in a series of interviews that hiring of the new lawyers was needless as he had already completed the job.

Despite outcry, the federal government, in May, secretly paid the newly engaged lawyers $15 million.

In a letter sent to the office of the senate president on Wednesday, the CSOs said the outcome of an audit done on Malami detailed the “shady actions” of the former AGF.

The group said nominating Malami to return as a minister rather than issuing a directive for a thorough investigation and prosecution has ridiculed the president’s “purported zest to fight corruption”.

The CSOs said it is on the strength of these allegations “that we implore this hallowed chambers to, in good faith, consider these allegations vis a vis their grave implications, and forestall the impending danger that comes with confirming an individual with such antecedents to become a Minister of this great country.

“We therefore urge the Nigerian senate to out-rightly reject the nomination of Mr. Abubakar Malami as an Honourable minister of the federation, as the damaging effect on the already suffering reputation of our country will be irreparable.”

The coalition, under the platform of Say No campaign, is made up of Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre for Africa (PAACA), YIAGA AFRICA, Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), The African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Protest to Power (P2P), Keen and Care Initiative, Connected Development (CODE), Social Action, Action Aid, Yes Project, Lawyers Network Against Corruption (LAWNAC). 

In 2018, Cable Foundation sued the AGF over failure to respond to freedom of information (FoI) request seeking details on the matter.

After adjournments, the court eventually set September 23 to deliver judgment.

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