As Nigerians count down to the last days of the catastrophic Muhammadu Buhari administration and the historic mindless corruption that was concomitant with it, one name that will never appear for the right reasons any time the story of the maladministration is told is Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. He is solely responsible for many acts of wickedness that were perpetrated by the government against the Nigerian people and posterity will never be kind to him.
All over the world, the role of the Attorney-General in any thriving democracy is first to uphold the rule of law, to represent the best interests of his or her country, and then to pursue justice where necessary. For Malami, he conveniently forgot that he was the chief attorney for Nigeria who should love his country more than any other citizen. He plausibly forgot that he was not the attorney for himself, Aso Rock, or the Fulani Oligarchy who nominated him to the role. He ignored the fact that his position meant that he was supposed to prosecute criminals and not become a criminal himself!
The truth remains that, with every action and inaction Malami has undertaken over the last eight years, he would have been serving a long jail term for blatant corruption and abuse of office if Nigeria were a civilised, sane country with a civilised jurisprudence. Sadly, with the docility of the Nigerian people and the ineffectiveness of Nigerian laws, Malami has almost nothing to lose sleep over.
A fortnight ago, a House of Representatives committee finally summoned the courage to invite Malami and his fellow cabinet looter, the Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed, to appear before it over the implementation of the whistleblower policy of the federal government.
The committee confirmed that it also summoned the secretary to the government of the federation Boss Mustapha, and all other thieving stakeholders who had, in one way or the other, got involved in the implementation of the policy. According to the committee, $2.4 billion, which, was supposed to be part of the revenue from the illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil sometime in 2015, went missing.
The Chairman of the committee pointedly accused Malami and his corrupt cohorts of receiving funds outside the country through the whistleblower policy and never making any efforts to move them into the federation account. What Malami did was to get the Finance Minister to approve payments of whistleblowers, allowing him to receive these funds in hard currencies on behalf of the ‘faceless’ whistleblowers.
What the House of Representatives must understand right now is that inviting Malami to the panel to provide answers to sensitive questions that could help in unravelling the truth is simply a waste of time. Malami will either refuse to honour the invitation or appear and spew lies as is more customary with him. Given the antecedents of the quota system Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), expecting something different from him will be tantamount to barefaced foolishness.
Malami’s tenure as AGF has been dotted by a debilitating mix of gross incompetence, blatant corruption, and selective justice. On assumption of office, he installed two systems of justice in the country – one for the North and a different one for the South, with that of the North being superior. Nigerians will easily remember how Malami once declared the security architecture formed to protect the South-West from marauding herdsmen, Amotekun, as illegal and unconstitutional while paying blind eyes to HISBAH, JTF, and Miyetti Allah. As far as he was concerned, they were very constitutional because they were formed by the owners of Nigeria.
How can the House of Representatives expect the truth from a man who spent the last eight years swimming in deceit and manipulations? When Malami is not making bold attempts to rewrite the Nigerian constitution to enable RUGA, he will be embroiled in supremacy battles with the DSS, the EFCC, and other agencies of government. When he is not carrying out extraordinary renditions of Nigerians in far away Kenya, he is using the instruments of the state to harass and detain Nigerians.
A careful look at Malami will paint a picture of Nigeria’s situation under the Muhammadu Buhari’s maladministration. The outgoing President simply surrounded the justice department of an important country like Nigeria for a low-performing Fulani miscreant to run. In a working society, an Attorney General is someone with a strong character necessary to sustain strong conduct. With Malami, it is the opposite. His sense of worth has been destroyed by his mediocre qualifications and character flaws. Every action he has undertaken since he assumed office clearly shows that he lacks purpose, credence, probity, and competence.
Nigeria has had a history of controversial Attorney Generals, but with Malami, controversy has been on steroids. He drinks, eats, and sleeps in controversy. Just as a compass pointing North, any finger of controversy involving the Buhari nepotic administration always points to him. He has been muddled in some unsavoury situations that have completely degraded that office. He is just too filthy for the pristine robe and wig of the bench.
How can the House of Representatives expect truth from such a double-faced charlatan? A man riddled with contradictions in actions, writings, and speeches. A man that unconsciously disproves his actions with corresponding reactions at the hierarchical order. The way he handled the issue of the OPL 245 case against JP Morgan and Mohammed Bello Adoke, Nigeria’s former Minister of Justice should have given the House of Representatives, a hint.
In that case, Nigeria had sued JP Morgan Chase over its involvement in the resolution agreement and subsequent payments made concerning the award of OPL 245 to Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd. To that effect, the country was seeking compensation of $1.7 billion.
In the suit that was before a UK court, the federal government had alleged that JP Morgan and Adoke were involved in a ‘fraudulent and corrupt scheme’, which led to the resolution agreement and payments. JP Morgan, in its opening submission, postulated that Nigeria ‘has no direct evidence in support of its case that there was a fraudulent and corrupt scheme as alleged’ against Adoke and the bank. To prove its case the plaintiff also cited how the federal government’s claim contradicted Malami’s correspondence with President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017 where the empty-headed attorney-general wrote a letter to the president disclosing that there was insufficient evidence to prove fraud or corrupt practices in the case.
Over the last eight years, Malami has ensured that through his ignorant recommendations to the President, Nigeria has been trapped in several international obligations and lost lots of international cases which cost Nigerians billions of Dollars. In some cases, he has even gone to the extent of taking advantage of Buhari’s poor judgement to cause the auctioning of sea vessels holding crude oil seized by the federal government. Despite violating Section 31(2) and (4) of the EFCC Act 2004, Malami has always used his office to shield himself from prosecution.
On several occasions, Malami has been accused of twisting the law to shield his family members, corrupt officials and institutions in the most brazen manners, but he rarely bothers to respond to the accusation because he feels he is part of those who own the country.
Just recently, Malami was accused of the duplicity of payment of $16.9 million in fees to two friends for the recovery of the loot traced to a former Head of State, Sani Abacha. However, a Swiss lawyer, Enrico Monfrini, who helped in the recovery, had already been fully paid by the Goodluck Jonathan cluless administration.
Perhaps, the reps committee should have begun their investigations by looking at all the shady deals that Malami has been fingered in over the past few years. The AGF was indicted for halting the prosecution of former Comptroller General of Customs, Mohammed Inde Dikko, through an alleged suspicious deal between the AGF and the immediate past DSS Director General, as well as shielding the ex-Customs boss from refunding $8million to the government. He was accused of trying to shield the criminal police cop, Abba Kyari, from prosecution. His role in Magu’s removal as Chairman of the EFCC also came to light.
A few years after his appointment as Minister in Buhari’s directionless government, Malami now owns assets worth billions without any source of income. Some of the properties he has acquired with looted public funds include, Rayhaan Hotels worth about N500million, located opposite Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Zaria Road, Kano State; a property worth about N600million located at Ahmadu Bello Way, Nasarawa GRA, Kano; a newly constructed school at the back of Nitel at Gesse Phase 1, Birni Kebbi, Kebbi State, worth about N700million.
Others include a property built by Malami for his son located at Gesse Phase II in Birni Kebbi worth over N400million; a mansion known as Azbir Arena allegedly built by Malami for his second son; Azbir Arena, an entertainment centre worth over N3billion, with a big plaza and kids playing centre and hotel, all combined in one expansive property. All these claims are verifiable as all listed properties are in Nigeria!
In conclusion, the House of Representatives will be doing itself a big favour if it makes the investigations on Malami holistic because only then will they discover that the whistle-blower payments are nothing compared to what Malmai has stolen from Nigeria over the last few years. Expecting the truth from a crooked character like Malami is like expecting a dog to birth an Elephant. It is certainly impossible.