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Reps quiz Malami over $2.4bn crude oil sale
Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, was cross-examined by the House of Representatives on Thursday for a second time about the alleged illicit sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil to China valued at more than .4 billion.
Malami appeared before the House’s Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Alleged Loss of Over $2.4 Billion in Revenue from Illegal Sale of 48 Million Barrels of Crude Oil Export in 2015, Including All Crude Oil Exports and Sales by Nigeria from 2014 to Date with Beatrice Jedy-Agba, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice/Solicitor-General of the Federation.
The lawmakers requested more information despite the materials being provided to the committee in response to an earlier request from the panel.
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While reiterating his previous stance on the charge and the investigation, Malami also requested the MPs provide him with any papers and information they may have to help him with his inquiry.
The chairman of the committee, Mark Gbillah, earlier noted that the lawmakers were in possession of communication from the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari “regarding this particular issue, which we will not say openly but will take up with you in private because we also understand certain things are classified and confidential.”
Gbillah added, “We are not just embarking on something that is a wild goose chase. I want to put that on the record.”
The chairman, while faulting an earlier claim by Malami at the last meeting that there was no formal committee set up by the President to investigate the matter, insisted that “an actual committee was set up, maybe you (the minister) are privy to it or not.”
He added that a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources also made a formal communication to the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.), “over this issue and we are in possession of that document.”
Gbillah stressed, “So, I am quite surprised that your esteemed office did not have all these information. It might not be within your purview of knowledge, but we are surprised that it is not.”
Responding, Malami insisted that he was not part of any formal presidential committee.
He added, “Secondly, aside from not being a member of any such committee, if any had existed, no document was made available to me as a person or to my office relating to this (petroleum) product. I am talking about a document made available by a whistle-blower or a document made available by the system. And to further confirm the problem, even when I was invited by this committee to appear, not a single document was made available to me for consideration.”
Malami urged the committee and the ministry to “collectively review” the documents and reach a conclusion on them. Gbillah, however, disagreed, stating that only the panel could determine how it would conduct the probe.