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Malami debunks alleged illegal sale of crude oil to China

AGF, Abubakar Malami at the hearing. Photo: Ibrahim Shehu

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has dismissed claims that the country lost over $2.4 billion in revenue from alleged illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil to China in 2015.

The Minister faulted the allegations during the resumed Ad-hoc Committee investigation into the alleged crude oil sale amounting to more than $2.4 billion as well as crude oil exports to global destinations from 2014 to date.

Mr Malami, who described the allegations as “baseless, unfounded, lacking merit and substance”, said the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation had filed a criminal suit against the individuals who purportedly levelled the allegations being investigated by the Ad-hoc Committee.

According to the Minister, the Individuals had attempted to defraud the Federal Government under the guise that the alleged crude oil stolen in China had been recovered.

He explained that the ongoing investigation initiated by the House was “unconstitutional and subjudice”, and argued that the prosecution of the petitioners which started in 2019 suffered setbacks due to a series of adjournments caused by the absence of the accused persons.

“Why do I say so? Sometime in 2016, allegations were rife and hyped in the social media,” he said.

“There were allegations of existence of stolen 48 million barrels of Nigerian crude in China said to have been valued at 2.4 billion.

“President Muhammadu Buhari informally requested the attorney-general, making reference to my humble person, Mele Kyari, Lawal Daura, former DG of DSS; and late Abba Kyari; to look into it and advise. But unfortunately, for there to be a reasonable ground for suspicion, at least, you require certain basic facts.”

He also disclosed that the Office of the Attorney-General was instrumental to the recovery of various sums of money which were deposited in the Asset Recovery Account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Responding to questions on the recovered funds, payment and disbursement, Mr Malami said: “Ministry of Finance is the coordinator of the whistle-blower policy and all payments to Whistle blowers are made by the federal ministry of finance, budget and national planning.”

The Presiding Chairman of the Committee, Isiaka Ibrahim, however, requested that the Minister provide official documents to prove that the allegation is baseless.

Reporting by Ibrahim Shehu; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu, Oluwaseyi Ajibade and Tony Okerafor