Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has denied reports in the media that he bought a mansion worth N300million for his newly married son in Abuja.
An online newspaper, not Voice of Liberty, had published a report on Friday claiming that the Minister of Justice had gifted his eldest son, AbdulAziz, who wedded on Saturday, the alleged N300million Abuja mansion.
The newspaper also alleged that Malami’s son, Abdul Aziz, who graduated from a university in Cyprus in 2018, is known among his circle to lead a flamboyant lifestyle purportedly fuelled by public funds at the disposal of his father, who remains one of the most powerful and influential figures in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Malami also disowned pictures and videos showing ceremonies linked with the wedding said to have been observed without observance of social distancing.
Malami, in a statement on Saturday by his spokesman, Umar Gwandu, called the allegation a blatant lie.
“Who is the vendor of the purported house bought for the son of the Minister in Abuja at N300m? Where is the so-called mansion located in Abuja? Where are the title documents?” he quipped.
Malami stated: “God knows that I did not purchase any house for him in Abuja. Not even a rented house was secured for my son in Abuja, because he has no plan to live in Abuja.
“The allegation of hiring private jets for the marriage was preposterous. It is common knowledge that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice had neither a father nor mother anywhere in Nigeria to be conveyed to Kano for the wedding.
“Who, then the Attorney-General is using the chartered flight to convey? Which jets are chartered? Who paid for the charter? Through which means was the money paid?
“It is one of such libelous publications of which Sahara reporters is commonly known for targeted at selected few for unsubstantiated fabricated allegations while overlooking more serious reasonable allegations visibly open against its favoured sectional kinsmen,” the statement noted.
The minister also denied the allegation that the wedding Fatiha flouted COVID-19 protocol of social distancing, saying that the ceremony, which took place on Saturday in Kano, was marked low key.
According to him, “any other activity before or after the wedding Fatiha is not connected with the marriage and we, therefore, disassociate ourselves from it in its entirety”.
He said: “The wedding Fatiha of the eldest son of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abdulazeez Abubakar Malami took place under strict observance of the protocols and guidelines of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19.
“Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN thanked friends, well-wishers and the general public for their prayers, goodwill for the wedding Fatiha which took place Saturday, 11th July, 2020 in Kano.
“Mr Malami expressed appreciation for the understanding demonstrated due to COVID-19 pandemic the wedding Fatiha was low-keyed.
“Earlier the Minister has communicated in writing notifying friends and colleagues that due to the current situation of COVID-19 he only solicited for their prayers and goodwill.”
Suspension of Magu shows no ‘sacred cows’ in Buhari’s anti-graft war – Presidency
The Nigerian Presidency on Saturday said President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to suspend the former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu was a proof that there is no special treatment for anyone in the government’s fight against corruption.
“Under this President and Government, this is our mantra and guiding principle. There are no sacred cows, and for those who think they have a halo over their heads, their days are also numbered,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement.
“No other administration in the history of Nigeria would have moved to bring into the light and public domain such an allegation.”
Magu’s probe shouldn’t end up as ‘paddy-paddy arrangement’ – Fayose
Former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has said the investigation of suspended anti-graft chief, Ibrahim Magu, must be carried out in full.
In a series of tweets shared on Saturday, Fayose submitted that a full investigation must be carried out on the sales of properties seized by the EFCC under Magu, adding that recovered loots that were ‘relooted’ must be ‘re-recovered’.
Fayose also emphasized that the investigations should go beyond proving Magu’s alleged corrupt practices and consequent elimination from office, but should expose beneficiaries and co-conspirators linked to the embattled former EFCC chief.
“This investigation must not end up as their usual paddy-paddy arrangement. It should not end up as a tool just to remove Magu because removing him will not be enough, the loots already ‘relooted’ must be ‘re-recovered’ and those who ‘relooted’ the loots brought to book,” Fayose said.
“Nigerians must know beneficiaries of the seized properties and how they were sold because most of these properties were bought by associates of Magu, including some so-called human rights lawyers.
He added that “those holding money and properties in trust for Magu as well as those who must have helped him to launder money must be revealed.”
Meanwhile, Vanguard reports that Magu, who is currently facing trial before the Presidential Investigation Panel over allegations of corruption levelled against him, has reportedly shunned the cell of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, FCID and turned the mosque in the premises of the Police headquarters as his abode where he has spent his fourth night.
As he embarked on the battle of his life, the Police management team was said to have abandoned him to his fate to carry his own cross following his refusal to identify with the police hierarchy while his reign as the commission’s boss lasted.
N510bn reportedly traced to BDC with links to Magu
In another development, the offices of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) were reported vandalised on Thursday night after the presidential panel probing Magu requested for the transaction history of a Kaduna-based bureau de change (BDC).
The panel was told that the BDC, which allegedly has links to the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has recently transacted businesses worth over N500 billion in different currencies — N336 billion, $435 million and €14 million.
However, there was a twist in the tale when the panel asked that the transaction history of the BDC be made available by NFIU, the central national agency that handles disclosures and intelligence in the financial sector.
Its offices were then vandalised, forcing members of the panel to seek audience with President Muhammadu Buhari, who immediately approved the suspension of Magu from office and the overhaul of EFCC security personnel to avoid interference with the investigations.