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Malami finally agrees to appear before reps over ‘illegal’ sale of 48m barrels of oil

Malami finally agrees to appear before reps over ‘illegal’ sale of 48m barrels of oil
April 21
08:21 2023

Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, has agreed to appear before a house of representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the alleged illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil in 2015.

Mark Gbillah, chairman of the committee, announced on Thursday that Malami will face the lawmakers on April 27.

TheCable had reported that the committee summoned Malami and Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, but they ignored the invitation.

Last week, Ghillah said the committee obtained reports that Malami received funds from outside the country through the whistleblower policy but did not remit it to the federation account.

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The committee chairman also said the minister of finance approved payments to whistleblowers which were not in accordance with the policy.

On Wednesday, the committee displayed documents allegedly involving the payment of $200 million to two companies for “consultancy service”.

Gbillah said the attorney-general wrote to the committee that he will appear before the lawmakers with a “comprehensive response”.

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He said: “Today we are in receipt of a letter from the attorney-general of the federation and the minister of justice who is averring his determination to respect the doctrine of separation of powers and to support our extant laws. He has indicated the fact that they are trying to put together the comprehensive response that we have raised.

“While we appreciate the attorney-general’s response we would like to indicate that it came a lot later than we expected and it came without the response that we referred to.

“So, we will appreciate it if the attorney-general and honourable minister provides these responses and also appear before the committee next Thursday. So, let’s give him the window to appear before the committee.”

‘MINISTER OF FINANCE EVASIVE’

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Ghillah said the finance minister has not shown regard to the committee by responding to the query sent to her office.

He said the committee will issue a warrant of arrest if the minister fails to appear before the lawmakers.

“Unfortunately, the honourable minister of finance has still been evasive. The committee has not received any submission or response from the honourable minister of finance,” he said.

“The accountant-general sent a response and has not responded to our follow-up because we asked further questions about the information he provided us.

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“But we want to call on the honourable minister of finance, like the attorney-general show regard and respect for the separation of powers as enshrined in our constitution and respond promptly to the request of the committee so that we can get to the bottom of our investigation.

“Like I already said, we are giving her the benefit of the doubt. We are not unmindful of the other powers we have and we are not afraid to exert them and we will do so if the leeway we have provided is still neglected and not recognised by the honourable minister of finance.”

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THE PROBE

In December 2022, the house of representatives set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate a whistleblower’s claims that 48 million barrels of Bonny Light crude were illegally sold in China in 2015. 

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The committee was also mandated to investigate all crude oil exports and sales in Nigeria from 2014 till date — as well as all proceeds recovered through the whistleblower policy of the federal government.

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