AGF Malami forced us to convert $40 million recovered loot at N305 per dollar: Keystone Bank.
Federal lawmakers are investigating public assets recovered by federal agencies between 2002 and 2020.
Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, issued a directive that a part of the $136 million belonging to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should be paid in naira equivalent, Keystone Bank has said.
The bank made this revelation during a hearing of the Ad-hoc Committee on Assessment and Status of all recovered loots, Movable and Immovable Assets, covering loots and assets from 2002 to 2020 by agencies of the federal government.
Mr Malami, who had established that a total of $136,676,600.51 was to be paid to NNPC, directed that 96 million be paid in dollars, while 40 million should be paid in naira.
“Out of this entire amount, we paid $96 million in United States dollars and we paid the equivalent of $40 million in naira,” according to Lawal Ahmed.
Mr Ahmed, who is the Executive Director, North and Public Sector Directorate, Keystone Bank, also said that Mr Malami recommended the exchange rate at N305 to a dollar.
“That was the directive by the Attorney-General at the rate of N305 to a dollar,” Mr Ahmed noted, although it is unclear when the transactions were carried out.
When the chairman of the committee, Adejoro Adeogun, queried why funds meant for Brass LNG Investment account was remitted in a different account, Mr Ahmed stated that the bank had remitted all funds belonging to the NNPC.
“We were paying into the Brass LNG’s NNPC account in the TSA and at the time the Attorney-General gave the directive, he instructed that the funds be credited to the FGN Assets Recovery Account,” the bank official said.
Mr Adeogun, while presenting a document to Mr Ahmed, explained that the figures in the transactions differ from the one obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
However, the bank representative argued that “The first item, which is N12,421,794,504.88 is the equivalent of $40m at N305, which was directed to the FGN Assets Recovery Account.
“There were two accounts: Brass LNG and OML 40. At the time this (AGF) letter was written, I believe that we had not concluded payment yet. The final payments were made thereafter in tranches,” Mr Ahmed added.
Reacting, a member of the committee, Olanrewaju Edun, criticised Mr Malami for issuing such directives, suggesting that the AGF be subjected to questioning.
“Out of the $40m that you claimed, the Attorney-General gave you a letter. As far as I am concerned, I don’t know why you have to take a letter from the Attorney-General.
“This is Nigeria’s money owned by the three tiers of government. We can take you up on that.
“Mr Chairman, I believe that my constituency has been robbed of money. Yes. And we need to contest that letter.
“I don’t know why the Attorney-General had to issue a letter that something that was transacted in dollars should be paid in naira rate when you have differential rates in Nigeria,” he added.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Friday, denied an arrested suspect’s confession linking him to some security operatives’ recent invasion of the home of a Justice of the Supreme Court, Mary Odili.
Lawrence Ajodo had said, while being paraded by the police headquarters along 13 other suspects on Friday, that he was a consultant engaged by Mr Malami and not a police officer as he had claimed to be.
Purporting to be a chief superintendent of police, Mr Ajodo had applied to the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Wuse Zone 6, Abuja, for a search warrant which the invading security operatives had tried to execute at Mrs Odili’s home on Imo Street, Maitama, Abuja, on October 29.
Gov Fayemi: Malami Should Defend Nigeria, Not Claimants
•Says Attorney General misleading President
•Alleges consultants’ demands dubious, fraudulent
Emmanuel Addeh, Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Nume Ekeghe in Lagos
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) yesterday maintained that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami has continued to mislead President Muhammadu Buhari in the case of the $418 million (N169 billion at official FX rate) Paris Fund deductions being claimed by some consultants.
Speaking on Arise News Channel, THISDAY’s broadcast arm, in response to comments made on the matter earlier by Malami, the NGF Chairman, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, wondered why the attorney general was taking sides with people he described as “dubious”, instead of defending the country against them.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) was recently directed to commence issuance of promissory notes to the creditors, a development the governors have continued to resist.
Malami had insisted that the consultants were deserving of the monies, from his own assessment of the situation, alleging that the governors had admitted to owing the debts and had actually been paying them off for some years.
According to Malami, contrary to claims, the NGF had signed a contractual agreement authorising the deduction of fees from the federal allocation of the states as payments to consultants, who handled negotiations on behalf of the 36 States and FCT.
He had stated that having committed to the deduction of the fee from the federal allocation which the governors of the 36 states had signed to and which preceded the Buhari administration for which payments were made in the past, the federal government could not but follow through with the payment hence the recent approval to effect the payment to the consultants via promissory notes.
But speaking yesterday, Fayemi, who stated that he was ordinarily reluctant to discuss the matter since it was already in court, noted that the governors had held several consultations with Buhari, his chief of staff, the attorney general and the finance minister in the last eight months to sort out the contentious issues.
He upbraided the attorney general for publicly identifying himself as the attorney general of the federal government during his interview, noting that the office which Malami occupies exists to serve the federation and not the federal government.
Rather than defending the consultants, Fayemi insisted that Malami’s job was to defend the federal, state and local governments which make up the federation
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