From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has disclosed that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has not incurred judgement debts in its seven years of existence.
According to him, all 648 cases that the ministry is defending against the the federal government, which are at different stages of trial, were incurred by previous administrations.
This is even as he said that the sum N54,888,343,888.42 and $507,415,901.1 million were saved from successfully defending the federal government, adding that not a single kobo was paid by the federal government as professional legal services for the defense of these cases.
He said: I wish to emphasize that the Federal Ministry of Justice has indeed been diligent in providing the necessary defenses in support of the federal government. By way of digression, let me tell you, before this government came into power, a lot of judgment debts were incurred, inclusive of the Paris Club that constitute a contentious subject in the system.
“But one thing I can clearly say ever since the coming of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, not a single major high profile judgment was entered against the federal government. All the judgement debt in contention that we are battling to defend were indeed inherited judgement against in the interests of the federal government incurred by the previous administration.
So arising from the diligent defenses we have been undertaking, we have succeeded within the period of 18 months, in addressing and avoiding liabilities on the part of the federal government that run into around N54,888,343,888.42. Those cases, we diligently, successfully defended the federal government which translated into Naira and Kobo avoidance of liability. Again, we have equally succeeded in defending the federal government to avoid liability in the sum of $507,415,901.1 million dollars. So these cases were handled by the State Council in the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, and not a kobo was paid by the federal government as professional legal services for the defense of these cases. What I’m trying to say in essence that we have succeeded as a ministry, in building capacity of the lawyers in the office and in the chambers of the Attorney General, and these lawyers have indeed succeeded in recording this feat in defense of the federal government.”
He also said the administration has secured over 1000 convictions on terrorism related cases within its 18 months.
He also added that the government has secured convictions for 312 other criminal cases within that period.
Malami, disclosed this to State House Correspondents at the 46th Session of the State House Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
According to him “The ministry has so far secured over 1000 convictions on terrorism. Convictions have also been secured in 45 cases by the Complex Casework Group, Maritime unit, and the special task force on electricity offenses and across the 13 zonal offices of the Ministry.”
Malami also said that the administration in 18 months has generated the sum of N1,823,788,146.86 from sales of bids forms for forfeited assets
He said: “You are aware that the President has put in place inter-ministerial committee that was saddled with the responsibility of not only identifying the forfeited asset, but indeed disposing same. So that committee has been working and within the period of 18 months, a total sum of N1,823,788,146.86 has been generated so far from the sale of bid forms, because forms were sold to those that are interested.”
The minister noted that the Ministry, through the CCG unit, is coordinating the next phase of terrorism related trials in collaboration with the federal high court, the Legal Aid Council, and the Defense Headquarters.
The AGF also explained that the Ministry of Justice has successfully processed over 350 Mutual Legal Assistance and 50 extradition requests including extradition proceedings against suspended DCP Abba Kyari from the United States of America.
According to him, “My office filed extradition proceedings against the suspended DCP Abba Kyari in line with an MLA request from the USA.”
The minister also disclosed that the government has recovered over N3.2bn (£6,324,627.66) of stolen monies from various jurisdictions globally from March 2021 to May 2022.
According to him the recovered foreign loots have since been disbursed into key infrastructure projects nationwide.
They include the Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano Road and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
“So for the first time in the history of this nation, recoveries were not only being made but what they are deployed in terms of development of the nation are indeed being seen visibly.”
The AGF who noted that the Justice Ministry has supported the Federal Government in various infrastructure funding agreements, lamented that the country currently grapples with a N329 billion funding gap.
He explained that an inter-ministerial committee on the audit and recovery of years on stamp duty has so far recovered N596,055,479.47.
“This exercise also provided job opportunities for over 1000 professionals including lawyers, accountants, auditors, and financial consultants. The ongoing exercise has so far led to the recovery of the sum of N596,055,569.47”, he said.