The Ministry of Finance is yet to submit its report to the House of Representatives’ ad-hoc committee investigating the $17 million fee for lawyers involved in the transfer of $321 million Abacha loot to Nigeria.
Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami, had engaged Oladipo Okpeseyi, a senior advocate, and Temitope Adebayo, two Nigerian lawyers, to do a job that had already been completed by Enrico Monfrini, the Swiss lawyer hired by the Nigerian government since 1999 to work on recovering the loot.
Monfrini had questioned the engagement of the lawyers in an email interview with online portal, TheCable, saying there was nothing more to do after he had helped recover the funds from Luxembourg and domiciled them with the attorney-general of Switzerland.
He added, in another email, that the repatriation “is a matter which is normally dealt between governments and which doesn’t entail the engagement of lawyers”.
An outcry had trailed this development, and at a plenary in April, some of the lawmakers described Malami’s engagement of the lawyers as “height of injustice.”
A motion was then raised by Mark Gbillah, a lawmaker from Benue State, asking the House of Representatives to carry out a “forensic investigation” on the issue.
The ad-hoc committee set up to investigate the matter was given six weeks to report back.
It was, however, understood that the committee is yet to report back to the House after the expiration of six weeks because they are “having challenges with some of the stakeholders involved.”
The committee had reached out to the Justice and Finance ministries, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN; Accountant-General of the Federation and the Cable newspaper Journalism Foundation, CNJF.