Justice Minister, Malami, sued by State Attorneys over ‘failure’ to remit N1.8tr recovered loot

The Attorneys-General of Nigeria’s 36 States have sued the Attorney-General of the Federation, (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over the alleged failure to remit recovered funds into the Federation Account.

The Attorneys-General, in the suit marked SC/cv/395/2021 and filed before the supreme court, are seeking, among other things, “a declaration that by the provisions of Section 162(1) and Section 162(10) of the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), all income, returns, proceeds or receipts howsoever described derived from confiscated, forfeited and/or recovered assets constitute revenue of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which must be remitted to Federation Account for the collective benefit of the federal, State and local governments”.

They equally asked the court to declare that “the failure and/or refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister of finance, the office of the AGF, and the Accountant-General of the Federation, and all other relevant authorities and/or agencies of the federation to remit the receipts, income, returns or proceeds derived from all assets recovered, seized, confiscated and forfeited into the Federation Account to be distributed in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution”, is unconstitutional.

In addition, they want the apex court to declare that, “it is unconstitutional for the president, through the federal minister of finance, the AGF, or any other authority whatsoever, to utilise, apply, allocate, expend and appropriate same to itself or distribute same in any other manner howsoever without due allocation from the Federation Account”.

They also submitted that the establishment of the “asset tracing, recovery and management regulation 2019”, done by the president through the AGF, contradicts the provisions of the constitution, and that the AGF acted beyond his constitutional powers.

Consequently, they prayed the court for an order directing the president, finance minister, AGF, and all other relevant authorities “to give an account of all the receipts, income, returns or proceeds derived from all assets recovered, seized, confiscated and/or forfeited to the federal republic of Nigeria in the sum of N1,836,906,543,658.73 (cash) and N450,000,000,000.00 (non-cash), amongst others.

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