By Samuel Bolaji
civil society organisation, Human and Environmental Agenda, has demanded a “thorough, immediate and urgent investigation” into the alleged N1bn car gifts by the immediate-past Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to his supporters in Kebbi State.
The anti-corruption group, in a petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, also demanded Malami’s probe over several allegations of corruption and abuse of office levied against him.
HEDA said its four-page petition, signed by its Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, was also copied to the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
It decried the lack of investigation by anti-corruption agencies into those allegations, which, according to a statement by the group, were conveyed by media reports and documentary evidence.
The group alleged that such lack of investigation went “to the root of breakdown of law and order and total disregard for the rule of law while Mr Malami served as Minister of Justice.”
HEDA cited some of the corruption allegations against Malami to include “distribution of 30 car gifts worth over N1,000,000,000 to his supporters in Kebbi State.”
The car gifts, according to the group, include “14 Mercedes Benz, eight Prado SUVs, four Toyota Hilux and four Lexus LX,” adding that “the beneficiaries were social media influencers, executive members of Mr Malami’s foundation and women support groups.”
Other allegations highlighted by the group include, “Illegal auctioning of sea vessels holding crude oil seized by the Federal Government; violating Section 31(2) and (4) of the EFCC Act 2004 and assuming the role conferred on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as reported by The Cable Newspaper on July 13, 2020.
“Alleged duplicity of payment of $16.9m fees to two friends as new lawyers for the recovery of the loot traced to a former Nigerian Head of State, Sani Abacha, after a Swiss lawyer, Enrico Monfrini, hired and fully paid by the previous government to help in the recovery, had completed his brief as reported by PremiumTimes on April 10, 2018.
“It was alleged that Mr Malami undertook the action with the intention for kickback from the deal.
“Allegedly seeking the withdrawal of cases against Bello Adoke, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Abubakar Aliyu and others involved in the Malabu scandal through his letters to former President Muhammadu Buhari on the grounds of lack of significant evidence to prove allegations of sharp practices against prominent players in OPL 245 oil deal,” among others.
HEDA stressed that it strongly believed that the allegations against the former AGF were too serious to be ignored or allowed to go without investigation.
Efforts to reach the Special Assistant to Malami on Media, Dr Umar Gwandu, were unsuccessful as calls to his phone did not connect and a text message sent to him had yet to be replied to as of the time of filing this report.