The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and her counterpart and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) on Tuesday said there was no controversy surrounding the recovery of US$322,515,931.83 Abacha loot or on the payment of $16.9 million fees to lawyers that handled the recovery.
While Adeosun in a statement issued by her Special Adviser, Media & Communications Oluyinka Akintunde described media report on her purported refusal to approve the lawyers fee as false media report, AGF Malami (SAN), who spoke through the Special Adviser on Justice Reform, Juliet Ibekaku-Okafo, said that the misinformation has been corrected.
Ibekaku- Okafor, who fielded questions on Abacha loot during a press conference on Open Government Partnership, said the Ministry of Finance had retracted an earlier statement by a spokesperson who was not briefed on the matter. She referred journalists to ministry of finance website where the minister disassociated herself with the said false report.
Adeosun said, “The attention of the minister of finance has been drawn to false media reports of a “strongly-worded letter to the President” objecting to the payment of $16.9 million fees to two lawyers for the recovery of Abacha funds.
“The Minister wishes to dissociate herself and the Federal Ministry of Finance from recent malicious and misleading media reports on the Abacha refunds.
“The Minister had at no time written any letter to the President or any member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the payment of lawyers for the Abacha recovery.”
Ibekaku-Okafor also refuted the flawed media reports of controversy surrounding the Abacha recovery, disclosing that “the sum of US$322,515,931.83 was received into a Special Account in the Central Bank of Nigeria on December 18, 2017 from the Swiss Government.”
She said that “for the avoidance of doubt, there is no controversy concerning the recovery of the Abacha monies from the Swiss Government.”
Earlier during the press briefing, the Solicitor General of the Federation and permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata, has announced on behalf of the AGF, the election of Nigeria into the sterling committee of the open Government Partnership (OGP).
According to the AGF , Nigeria will serve alongside France, Argentina and Romania for a period of three years beginning in October 2018.
The federal government joined the Open Government Partnership in July 2016 to further deepen the reforms initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari administration.