A partner organisation to Cable Foundation, TheCable online newspaper, had reported that a Swiss lawyer had done the legal work and completed the recoveries
A not-for-profit media organisation, Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation (CNJF), has sent a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on information regarding the alleged payment of about N7 billion to lawyers in the recovery of $321 million Abacha loot from Luxembourg.
In a press statement signed by the CNJF Programme officer, Mrs. Abiose Adelaja Adams, and made available to the Daily Sun in Lagos, yesterday, the CNJF alleged that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, engaged two Nigerian lawyers, Oladipo Okpeseyi and Temitope Isaac Adebayo, for the recovery after the money was returned to Nigeria with $1.5 million interest by the Swiss government.
According to the statement, a partner organisation to Cable Foundation, TheCable online newspaper, had earlier reported that a Swiss lawyer, Enrico Monfrini, had done all the legal work and completed all the recoveries, for which he had been paid in full by the Goodluck Jonathan administration as far back as 2014.
“Monfrini denied allegations that he was asking for extra payment to complete the job and maintained that the recovery had been finalised, and all that was left was for Malami to write a simple letter to the Swiss government. However, Malami still engaged the services of two lawyers for a fee $16.9 million (about N7 billion),” the statement read.
Mrs. Adams lamented that the CNJF had sent an FoI request to the attorney general to make available copies of the agreements signed with Monfrini, but he has not responded to it. “Cable Foundation’s lawyers, Kusamotu & Kusamotu, are now in court seeking an order of mandamus to compel the AGF to make the documents available in line with public interest,” she added.
She said the Cable Foundation wants Adeosun to provide a breakdown of the amount approved and released to the Nigerian lawyers between the time they were appointed and today, as well as records showing payment timeline for the services of the Swiss lawyer.