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No reasonable grounds for probing ‘illegal’ sale of 48m barrels, Malami tells reps panel 

No reasonable grounds for probing ‘illegal’ sale of 48m barrels, Malami tells reps panel 
May 25
22:00 2023

Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, says he did not receive any document regarding a tip provided by a whistleblower regarding an alleged missing 48 million barrels of crude oil.

Malami made this known on Thursday when he appeared before the house of representatives ad hoc committee investigating the whistleblower’s claim.

In December 2022, the lower chamber resolved to probe the whistleblower’s claims that 48 million barrels of Bonny Light crude were illegally sold in China in 2015, as well as the insurance status of the cargo.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion moved by Ibrahim Isiaka, a member of the house.

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The alleged sale reportedly led to a loss of $2.4 billion in revenue.

Malami had appeared before the committee in April, saying the purported sale of the product was “baseless and unfounded”.

‘WHISTLEBLOWER DID NOT PROVIDE DETAILS’

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Making a second appearance on Thursday, Malami questioned the formation of an investigating committee by the national assembly, insisting there was no proof to support the claim made by the whistleblower.

“There were no reasonable grounds or suspicions justifying the evocation of the oversight function of the national assembly as per this matter is concerned,” he said.

“My basis of the conclusion was that the basic consideration that could have laid the foundation for either investigation, formation of a committee by the executive, or perhaps oversight by the national assembly was not there.

“There was an allegation of stolen crude, the facts relating to such an allegation with particular regard to the specification of the oil, the origin — if any was taken out of the country — to which country? The associated details of the transaction were not there.

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“If a product is confiscated in China, which agency in China indeed confiscated the product? It was not there. This idea of embarking on an investigation or forming a committee by the executive or constituting a committee does not even arise. If you go to China, is it the anti-corruption agency, customs, or immigration you are approaching? No such details.

“The idea of any whistleblowing — if you are blowing a whistle, you should give adequate information as to what you are blowing. You cannot blow for nothing. There was no foundation for the formation of a committee.”

‘NO DOCUMENT WAS MADE AVAILABLE TO ME’

Speaking further, the AGF emphasised that there was no evidence on the matter, adding that his position on the tip was based only on the lack of evidence.

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“No document was made available to me or my office relating to this product. I am talking of a document made available by the whistleblower or by the system,” Malami said.

“Even when I was invited by this committee, no single document was made available to me, just questions. As far as I am concerned, not a single document was made available to me in my capacity as the attorney-general of the federation for review.”

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