…Says Malami lacks constitutional right to auction seized assets
The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has requested the Justice Ayo Salami-led Presidential Panel to probe the purported auction of recovered properties by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
According to Magu, the AGF, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had no statutory right to approve the sales of recovered assets which he said was the responsibility of the Minister of Finance.
It would be recalled that the AGF had reportedly approved two separate authorisations to an auctioneer to conduct an open bid for sale of crude oil and diesel as well as five vessels surrendered by illegal bunkering operators to the government.
Legal counsel to Magu, Tosin Ojaomo stated on Saturday that the Justice Minister had no constitutional power under section 174 of the 1999 Constitution to fiddle into assets management, adding that the law only empowers him to institute and undertake criminal proceedings.
Magu’s lawyer also ascribed the embattled anti-graft agency’s ordeals to his critics who he said did not align with his decisions of remitting money directly to the Federal Government reserves.
When questioned if he was demanding the probe of the AGF for alleged participation in the sale of recovered property, the lawyer stated, “Yes, I’m calling for that; I’m calling for a probe of the AGF. Ladidi Mohammed, head of assets recovery management in the office of the AGF should be brought to the panel to tell Nigerians how much they have managed in terms of assets.
“On what grounds is the AGF appointing contractors to conduct open bid? You can see that there is a question mark on the company appointed to conduct the auction. There is one Omoh-Jay Nigeria. There is a moral burden. The same person was tried by the EFCC, the same firm was now being picked to sell the assets recovered by the EFCC.”
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