Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has stated that recovered loot; especially those linked to late dictator Sani Abacha will not be paid into the country’s federation account.
The Attorney General rejected calls by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana for the recovered loot to be returned to the Federation Account of Nigeria and shared between the various federating units.
Rejecting the advise through his spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, Malami accused Femi Falana of confusing public and myopic views.
The Attorney General said Falana made a false assertion on the process through which stolen funds were recovered and disbursed based on the provisions of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act as well as Section 153 (1) (n) of the Nigerian Constitution.
He said Falana’s assertion signals a rash analysis with no clear legal foundation.
According to Malami;
“The RMAFC Act has nothing specific on funds recovered from indicted public officers or assets recovered internationally.”
“The recovery of stolen assets and the subsequent uses to which these funds may be employed are subject to international agreements between Nigeria and the affected countries, thereby bringing conflict of laws into contemplation.”
“Importantly also, these repatriated funds are based on cooperation and mutual assistance agreements, especially the United Nations Convention against Corruption and Implementation of the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) Principles on the Repatriation of Stolen Assets.”
Falana however disagreed with Malami and insisted that all recovered loot should be paid into the federation account.
According to Falana;
“It is on record that the report of the investigation set up by the Federal Government under the Abdulsalami Abubakar junta confirmed that the estimated $5bn Abacha loot was part of the revenue of the federation stolen from the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
“Therefore, the recovered loot has to be returned to the Federation Account.”
“Any agreement between the Federal Government and foreign countries on the recovered loot has to be read subject to sections 12 and 162 of the Constitution.”