Journalism of Courage

At least 648 lawsuits cases filed against FG, agencies to date, says Justice Minister, Malami

On the impact of litigation efforts on the economy, he said about N54.8 billion was saved from litigation in 2022 alone while no judgment debt had been entered against the president.

No fewer than 648 cases have so far been instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari, the administration and agencies of government from 2015 to date, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami (SAN) has disclosed.

According to him, the cases are at states, federal and ECOWAS courts.

Malami spoke at the weekly Ministerial Media Briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.

On the impact of litigation efforts on the economy, he said about N54.8 billion was saved from litigation in 2022 alone while no judgment debt had been entered against the president.

Malami said all present judgments were inherited from the previous administration.

“All the 648 cases that the ministry is defending against the federal government which are at different stages of trial, were incurred by previous administrations.

“Not a single kobo was paid by the federal government as professional legal services for the defense of these cases.

“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 judgment debt in contention that we are battling to defend were indeed inherited judgment against in the interests of the federal government incurred by the previous administration.

“So arising from the diligent defences, 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.

“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 Counsel 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 defence of these cases.

On convictions, Malami said the administration had secured over 1,000 convictions on terrorism-related cases in 18 months while convictions were also secured for 312 other criminal cases during the period.

On extradition requests processed by the ministry, the minister announced: “We have 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.

“My office filed extradition proceedings against the suspended DCP Abba Kyari in line with an MLA request from the USA.

“The government has recovered over N3.2bn (£6,324,627.66) of stolen monies from various jurisdictions globally from March 2021 to May 2022.’’

Explaining what the recovered looted funds was used for, Malami said the monies had been deployed into key infrastructure across the country including 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 developments of the nation are indeed being seen visibly.”

Malami, who noted that the Justice Ministry has supported the Federal Government in various infrastructure funding agreements, said that the country currently grapples with a N329 billion funding gap.

He disclosed that an inter-ministerial committee on the Audit and Recovery of Back 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 392 major contracts and Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects were vetted to ensure adequate protection of government investments.

Malami also said N146 million has been paid as compensation to victims of human rights violations under the effort of the National Human Rights Commission.

Read Also: Nigerian man and U.S. marshal, Iwuagwu faces trial for alleged money laundering, $1.9m…

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