From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
ATTORNEY-GENERAL of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has denied allegations by one Dr. George Uboh that he deliberately frustrated him in his effort to recover the over N300 billion his company, Panic Alert Security Systems (“PASS”), traced to some banks.
The minister also gave reasons the company’s contract was revoked.
The alleged fund is believed to be kept by individuals as well as some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in banks.
The minister’s explanation was contained in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari through the Office of the Chief of Staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari, and dated April 4, 2016, refuting the allegations.
Malami also faulted the insinuations that he made an unholy alliance with the banking sector mafia not to cooperate with PASS, and/or that he promised a bank that he would call Dr. Uboh to soft-pedal on the bank. He said: “I must state that the above allegations are untrue, incorrect, false, a figment of the imagination of the author and a smear campaign by Dr. Uboh to tarnish my image. I did not make, never made and will never make any alliance with anyone in and outside of the banking industry to frustrate PASS or any firm from recovering any FGN’s funds stashed/ trapped in the listed banks or any bank or company in Nigeria or elsewhere.
“In demonstration of my firm commitment to the recovery efforts of the FGN, I gave PASS a letter titled: TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, dated February 17, 2016, introducing PASS to the aforesaid banks/financial institutions.
“The aforesaid Letter of Engagement dated February 9, 2016 and the subsequent Letter of Introduction dated February 17, 2016 (“HAGF Letters”) were given to PASS on the firm understanding that PASS had already identified and/or traced specific FGN funds stashed/trapped in the aforementioned banks and that PASS would promptly embark on processes that would lead to actual recovery and remittance of the traced funds into the designated account of the FGN in line with the proposals submitted, presentations made and the terms contained in its letter of February 9, 2016,” he said.
On why he revoked the Letter of Engagement given to PASS, Malami said he took the action when he discovered that it was on window-shopping mission upon receipt of the letter by going beyond his brief, allegedly embarking on subtle threats to all banks, some private individuals and entities solely to shop for data and information to execute the brief contrary to the representations made to the minister.
Malami said: “In a manner that clearly demonstrated that PASS was merely on a voyage of information and window-shopping, PASS, upon receipt of the letters hereinabove mentioned, went to town and unilaterally expanded the scope of its brief far beyond the Thirteen (13) banks covered by his brief and embarked on subtle threats to all Nigerian banks, some private individuals and entities solely to shop for data and information to execute the brief contrary to the representations made to me.”
He added that, “Its only defence for the ultra vires were the fraudulent, baseless, unsubstantiated and illogical inferences that my Letter of Introduction dated February 17, 2016 has endlessly expanded/enlarged the scope of its instructions while in actual sense, the said letter was expressly issued ‘pursuant to a February 9, 2016’s letter of engagement’ earlier given to PASS.
“In support of the claims contained in paragraph 9 above, I was inundated with the excesses of Dr. George Uboh of PASS and later found out that PASS actually wrote several banks (more than Thirteen (13) banks), private individuals, corporate entities (national and multinationals), government agencies and virtually all FGN’s ministries soliciting for data, information, official records, remittances (funds and stocks) and records of whereabouts of all forfeited assets not yet disposed by some of the FGN agencies, amongst other things,” he noted.
The AGF said Uboh’s alleged excesses include soliciting and/ or requesting banks’ officials to allow him access to certain encrypted systems to enable him extract relevant information to execute the brief without appreciation of the security implications of such a delicate venture on Nigeria’s financial sector and without any prior discussions with and approval from me.
“My decision to revoke the instructions was further re-enforced by the startling revelations, which were not disclosed to me by the personality (Dr. Uboh) that was requesting for those sensitive materials from the banks that he was an alleged ex-convict prosecuted after US law enforcement agents carried out a major raid on a credit card and bank fraud ring allegedly led by George Uboh in Georgia in 1992. He reportedly came out of jail on January 16, 2001,” Malami said.