Lawyer accuses Malami of stalling $60bn stolen funds recovery

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The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has been accused of preventing the recovery of $60 billion in the United States.

Tosin Ojaomo, the special prosecutor to the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property, made this allegation on Wednesday at the investigative hearing into the status of the recovered loots.

Mr Ojaoma also served as lawyer to Ibrahim Magu, the ex-acting boss of the EFCC. He represented Mr Magu before the Ayo Salami panel, which investigated the former EFCC boss.

Hearing

Speaking at the hearing, Mr Ojaomo, who did not tender any document to corroborate his statement, accused Mr Malami of preventing Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property from recovering the said funds.

Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property was headed by Okoi Obono-Obla, who is facing prosecution over corruption.

The panel was dissolved by President Muhamadu Buhari in 2019.

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Ojaomo’s allegations

According to Mr Ojaomo, the $60 billion was stolen through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and domiciled in Texas, United States of America.

He stated that Mr Malami frustrated the effort of the panel to process the recovery of the money.

“There was an intelligence given to the panel that the sum of $60 billion belonging to the Nigerian government is currently being domiciled at Texas in the United States of America which the panel has started working on, sir. All this has been taken over by the attorney-general of the federation.

“The panel also got a foreign intelligence from the United States of America that a certain amount of money which was stolen from Nigeria through the NNPC to be precise was currently domiciled at Texas is the sum of $60 billion which the panel was about to recover.”

Mr Ojaomo also accused the state-owned oil company of domiciling $223 million at Polaris Bank as an ‘operation’ account.

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“Another interesting one is also a certain account which is domiciled at a Polaris bank where the sum of $223 million was kept under the guise of NNPC operations account. This account was not linked to the TSA, it was just a stand-alone account,” he said.

Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo), the chairman of the committee, allowed Mr Ojaomo to continue with his claims despite suggestions by some members of the committee that the lawyer should provide evidence.

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The lawyer alleged that “the panel got an information that the auditor-general withdrew the sum of 10 billion from the account of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) — 5 billion in two tranches. So when the panel invited the auditor-general because what the panel does is — when you are to be investigated, the panel gives you a form — asset declaration form — this panel is the criminal aspect of the Code of Conduct Bureau. So when this asset form was sent to the auditor-general he refused to fill the form. He wrote several letters that he is not subject to the directive, that his office is an independent office known by the constitution.”

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He was later stopped by the chairman of the committee and asked to avail the committee of all the needed documents to back his claims

Mr Adeogun also announced that the committee will write to invite Mr Malami over the allegations.

The AGF had appeared before the committee on Tuesday.

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