A human rights lawyer, Kabir Akingbolu, has noted that Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), may spend five years in prison.
Akingbolu said this in statement, while accusing Malami of “illegally” approving the auctioning of sea vessels holding crude oil and diesel seized by the federal government.
He was said to have approved the sale of the oil assets which ran into millions, and seized by security agencies over illegal oil bunkering.
Malami was also accused of directing one Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd, an oil firm, to auction the crude oil and diesel in four sea vessels, even after the firm was tried for allegedly stealing about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil in 2009.
Reacting, Malami noted that he has committed no illegality or crime in approving the auction.
He defended himself by stating that Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd is a duly registered company and can participate in the auction bidding process, since it hasnt been found guilty for the allegations for which it is standing trial.
Reacting in a statement today however, Akingbolu said Malami had no powers to independently approve the auctioning without the authorisation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He said section 31 (4) of the EFCC Act gives powers to the AGF to only make rules for the disposal of seized assets to ensure that the power of sale is not abused by the EFCC.
“To further expose the anomalies and administrative recklessness of Malami, may I invite him on a short excursion into section 31 (2) and (4) of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which is the enabling Act, under which he purportedly acted,” he said.
“It is submitted that the AGF does not have such power either under section 174 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“For the purpose of elucidation and contrary to the highly misguided position of the AGF, section 31 (2) of the EFCC Act states that upon receipt of a final order pursuant to this section, the secretary to the commission shall take steps to dispose of the property concerned by sale or otherwise and where the property is sold, the proceeds thereof shall be paid into the consolidated revenue fund of the federation.
“In order to ensure that the power of sale of confiscated properties is not abused by the EFCC, the AGF is authorized by section 31 (4) of the EFCC Act to ‘make rules or regulations for the disposal or sale of any property or assets forfeited pursuant to this Act.’ But instead of making the ‘rules or regulations’ to guide the EFCC in the sale of confiscated properties, the AGF decided to appoint contractors including a criminal suspect to dispose of confiscated properties.”
He added that the AGF who represents the state is supposed to try to prove the guilt of the accused (Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd) rather, he is acting “as the mouthpiece of the suspect by singing the mantra of presumption of innocence for an accused.”
Akingbolu said since the AGF has admitted that he personally authorised the sale of confiscated properties without the authorisation of the EFCC, he has “committed an offence under section 32 (1) of the EFCC Act” and is “liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of five years without the option of a fine.”
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order the inspector general of police to arrest Malami.