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Abacha Loot: Malami deserves national accolades, group tells NASS

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A socio-political youth group, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Grassroots Youth for Change, has warned against the witch-hunt of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), as the House of Representatives’ Ad-Hoc Committee commences public hearing into the scheduled payment of five percent professional fees to Nigerian lawyers who completed the repatriation of the $322.5 million Abacha loot.

 

 

“We sincerely hope that the public hearing into the payment of professional fees to the Nigerian lawyers who travelled and worked assiduously to ensure that the last tranche of $322.5 million Abacha loot was repatriated  would not be used as a contrived process to settle scores with the Minister of Justice and AGF, said National Coordinator Mr. Orlu Henry Manuchimso,.

He said ahead of Wednesday (May 23, 2018) sitting of the committee that the lawmakers must disabuse their minds and refrain from preconceived notions against the Minister of Justice and AGF.

Manuchimso urged the committee to approach the probe with sincerity of purpose even as he tasked it to conduct a thorough and painstaking investigation into the entire assets recovery and repatriation regime that have spanned about 20 years in order to have a good understanding of the issues involved.  

According to him, “For any investigation or inquiry into the Abacha loot recovery to be meaningful, the principal actor, the Swiss lawyer, Mr. Enricho Monfrini who began the process, must be invited to answer some probing questions otherwise the probe would be tantamount to a waste of time and a needless distraction.

“As a matter of concern, our group has since found out that the Minister of Justice and the AGF was open and transparent in the recovery process, and nothing untoward has been done in the engagement of the Nigerian lawyers who have now gained more global exposure and built a good network of relationships in the arduous task of recovering our stolen assets.”

Manuchimso said that “every year, the National Assembly gets between 2 and 5 percent of our yearly budget; many lawmakers who skip sittings get all their entitlements; it will be disingenuous and wicked to crucify Malami for appointing lawyers who diligently worked round the clock to bring into the country $322.5 million that the country had been finding difficult to repatriate since 2014.

“We make bold to say that Malami (SAN) deserves national accolades, while the lawyers deserve their wages just like their foreign counterparts.”

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