FG Sues Turkish Airlines For Alleged Rights Violation

Court, Turkish Airlines, GovernmentThe Federal Government has sued Turkish Airlines before a Federal High Court in Abuja over an alleged criminal violation of the rights of some Nigerian passengers.

The government also indicted the company for violating the enabling law of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, filed a three-count charge against the airline as well as its Board Chairman, Liker Ayci and its Commercial Manager, Rasak Shobowale.

Untimely Delivery Of Baggage

In the charge, the Federal Government alleged that the three accused persons between December 20, 2015 and March 2016, “without sufficient cause, refused to provide the Consumer Protection Council documents on Turkish Airlines’ policy on delayed baggage,” thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 18 of the CPC Act.

The Federal Government also accused the airline and its two principal officers of violating the same section of the CPC Act by neglecting, without sufficient cause, to attend and testify before the consumer protection agency on the detailed steps taken by the airline to provide redress and compensation to passengers aboard its Flight 623 from Istanbul to Abuja on the said dates, who were affected by its untimely delivery of baggage.

The prosecution came on the heels of persistent refusal of Turkish Airlines to respond to lawful requests of CPC for a full situation report on the airline’s alleged shoddy treatment of passengers of Flight 623 from Istanbul to Abuja on December 25 and 31, 2015 as well as January 9, 2016, which prompted the council to approach the Justice Minister for the prosecution of the airline.

Corruption: FG Develops National Policy On Prosecution

national policy, corruptionAs part of efforts to stem the tide of corruption through speedy trial of suspects, the federal government has developed a national policy on prosecution.

The Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, announced the new policy at a meeting of attorney generals in Abuja where they converged from the 36 states of the federation to discuss how to improve the justice sector.

Mr Malami said that the adoption and implementation of the policy by state authorities will fast-track the prosecution of corruption and criminal cases.

The Minister appealed to states to accept the federal government’s vision of tackling corruption by establishing special anti-corruption units.

He advocated the restoration of public confidence in the justice sector through the speedy prosecution of cases.

The Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Cristina Albertin, also outlined the role of prosecutors in the fight against corruption.

At a separate meeting on the London summit on Anti-Corruption, the Minister of Justice pledged government’s commitment to accountability and transparency as a means of stemming corruption.

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, confirmed government’s resolve to run an open government just as the Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Simon Shercliff, advised political leaders to lead by example.

Senate’s Allegation Of ‘Coup Against Legislature’ Is Falsehood – AGF

Senate, Attorney-General, Senate PresidentThe Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has described as false, the position of the Senate alleging that the move to arraign the Senate President and his Deputy for forgery portends danger and is a coup against the legislature.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; former Clerk of the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa and Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, Bernard Efeturi were scheduled to appear before the court on Monday, June 20, 2016 over allegations of forgery.

The Senate, in condemning the allegation, had said that it portends danger and indeed, a coup against the legislature with a view to cause a leadership change in the National Assembly.

The Senior Special Adviser to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Salisu Isah, said that the insinuation that the action of the Attorney-General is an interference on the legislature by the executive arm on the affairs of the red chambers of the National Assembly; and therefore a violation of the principles of separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution is also regrettable.

According to Mr Isah, the allegations are totally untrue and baseless because the Attorney-General is well aware of the doctrine of separation of powers and its actions are borne out of the duty required of the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

He pointed out that the office of the AGF is empowered under section 174 (1) of the constitution and vested with the power to undertake and initiate criminal proceedings in any court of law in Nigeria.

He explained that by virtue of this power as the chief law officer of the nation, the AGF has simply initiated criminal proceedings for forgery against the affected principal officers in the Senate for altering the Senate standing rules in the Federal High Court and his actions can stand the test of any law since he did not act on a vacuum but on a recommendation by the Inspector General of Police.

He added that the Inspector-General of Police has fully satisfied investigative procedure arising from the petition sent to the Nigerian Police by some aggrieved members of the Senate.

FG Inaugurates Presidential Committee On AMCON Loans Recovery

committee on Loans RecoveryA Presidential Inter-Agency Committee on recovery of loans granted to commercial banks and corporate organisations by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has been set up by the Federal Government.

This was revealed in a statement made available to the media on Monday by Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, the spokesman for the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.

The inauguration of the committee, according to the Minister of Justice, was held on Thursday, May 19, in Abuja.

The committee is headed by the Minister.

Mr Malami in his speech, recounted that AMCON was established by the Act of the National Assembly to prevent the collapse of the Nigerian banking sector following the banking crisis, as a result of the Bank Consolidation Reforms in 2008.

The AGF pointed out that the above situation led to huge indebtedness for banks which culminated in the eventual purchase of the toxic loans by AMCON in order to stabilise the banking sector and by extension the Nigerian economy.

However, the debtors who cut across the aviation, banking and oil and gas sectors failed to repay the loans while some of them had resulted to court actions all in their bid to frustrate the loan recovery efforts of AMCON, surmising that in some cases, this was with active conspiracy of some financial institutions among others.

The Minister also explained that the situation led to the President’s approval and directive for the establishment of the Inter-Agency Committee to effectively pursue the loan recovery.

The Committee will ascertain the current status of AMCON recoveries in terms of achievement from inception to date, the total outstanding viz value of assets and also ascertain how government at various levels can be made to honour their debt obligations to the Corporation.

It is also to request and obtain information from any person or persons and/or entity or entities onshore and offshore, with the full support and weight of the Federal Government and her agencies towards the pursuit and realisation of the Committee’s mandate; as well as to assist in third party investigation outside AMCON office relating to obligors and identify the criminal nature of commercial transactions that would assist in pursuing criminal prosecutions.

In addition, the Committee will ascertain how government agencies can collaborate to support AMCON’s recovery effort in ensuring that payments due to Obligors are made to AMCON, consider the possibility of going into a Joint Venture Agreement with AMCON, the acquisition of forfeited assets from AMCON and the take-over of recalcitrant businesses/companies where feasible.

It is also expected to establish the working framework for the Committee such that AMCON could have direct contact with the agencies for assistance and report be made to the Committee on achievement and challenges as well as to design and come up with workable strategies to pursue aggressive recovery of the AMCON loans.

Members of the Committee include representatives drawn from the following different Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

It is chaired by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.

It also has as members, the Minister of State (Aviation), Senator Hadi Sirika, Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase and the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crime Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu.

Others are the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, Group Managing Director Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, Director General, Debt Management Office, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, Mr Farouk Ahmed and the Managing Director of AMCON, Mr Ahmed Kuru.

Human Rights Abuses: ICC Probes Nigerian Army, Boko Haram

boko haramThe International Criminal Court has started the process of investigating alleged human rights abuses by the Nigerian military.

The court will also study cases of abuse by the Boko Haram sect.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused the military of illegal killings and incarceration.

In the meantime, the federal government says it is committed to upholding the highest standards of human rights in the conduct of all international affairs, including counter-insurgency operations.

The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami explains the Nigerian Army has conducted its operations in the north east of the country in a highly professional manner while imbibing best practices.

Kogi Assembly Crisis: Five Members Sit, Suspend 10

Kogi AssemblyThe crisis rocking the Kogi State assembly deepened on Tuesday as members of the pro-Imam faction of the House suspended ten members of the factional group led by the embattled Speaker, Momoh Jimoh-Lawal.

The group, led by Umar Imam, announced the suspension at the floor of the assembly after a report of a committee set up to look into the crisis.

The five-man committee led by Honorable John Abah, in its findings, said that the crisis caused in the House were unnecessarily heated up by some people with vested interests.

The committee also aligned with the position of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who is alleged to have said that the sealing up of the Kogi Assembly was not necessary as the crisis had not led to break down of law and order in the state.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has summoned the Attorney-General of the Federation over his alleged comments that the National Assembly was wrong to have taken over the duties of the Kogi State House of Assembly.

In a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Nicholas Ossai and unanimously supported by most lawmakers, the House described the comments of the Attorney-General as a direct attack on the National Assembly.

The Senate agreed with the House of Representatives to take over the legislative functions of the Kogi State House of Assembly after its leadership crisis degenerated into a situation where two persons claimed to be Speaker of the House.

Negotiation With MTN Not Concluded – Attorney-General

MTNThe Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, says the negotiation with the South African telecommunication company, MTN has not been concluded.

The Minister put forward this position when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Communication.

The Committee is looking into issues around the 1.04 trillion Naira fine imposed on the telecoms company mtn for failing to deactivate unregistered SIM cards.

The Minister also defended the position of his office in taking over the case from the Ministry of Communication and the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), saying the constitution empowers him to take such actions.

House of Representatives had questioned the legal basis for the review of the 1.04 trillion Naira fine imposed on MTN for failing to deactivate unregistered SIM cards.

After considering a motion on the matter, the House resolved to investigate the extent to which the company violated the provisions of the law and if the company should escape criminal liability for the alleged death of over 10,000 Nigerians.

They queried the role of the Attorney-General of the Federation for taking over the negotiations with MTN without including the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The fine has been reduced to 780 billion Naira.

Reps Summon Attorney-General, Police IG Over Kogi Assembly

Attorney GeneralThe House of Representatives has summoned the Attorney-General of the Federation over his alleged comments that the National Assembly was wrong to have taken over the duties of the Kogi State House of Assembly.

In a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Nicholas Ossai and unanimously supported by most lawmakers, the House described the comments of the Attorney-General as a direct attack on the National Assembly.

Rep Nicholas Ossai informed the House of a letter allegedly written by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, directing the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to unseal the Kogi State House of Assembly.

The House has also set up an adhoc committee to investigate the matter and report back to the House in two weeks.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had reportedly told the IG of Police, Solomon Arase, to disregard the National Assembly’s resolution to take over the Kogi State House of Assembly, saying the lawmakers’ resolution was wrong.

The Senate agreed with the House of Representatives to take over the legislative functions of the Kogi State House of Assembly after its leadership crisis degenerated into a situation where two persons claimed to be Speaker of the House.

The Senate also declared that the impeachment proceedings embarked upon by five members of the Kogi assembly is null and void.

The recommendation was made by a delegation mandated by the House of Representatives to look into what it called illegal removal of the Speaker of the State House.

The Senate consequently directed the Inspector General of Police to seal the Kogi State House of Assembly complex until the matter is resolved.

Senate Reveals New Fine Proposal Between MTN And FG

MTNThe Senate Committee on Communications has revealed an ongoing N300 billion proposal between MTN and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, over the N780 billion fine imposed on the network by Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).

At an investigative hearing in the National Assembly, the Vice Chairman of the committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, produced a proposal by MTN where the network provider insisted that it could only pay the total of N300 billion out of the N780 billion fine imposed.

The breakdown of the proposal, which was forwarded to the ministers of communications and finance by the solicitor-general as well as NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Dambatta, consists of a N50 billion already paid by MTN into a recovery account of the Central Bank of Nigeria in good faith and another N100 billion to be paid via electronic transfer between December 31, 2016 to December 31, 2020.

The Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, expressed concern that the Attorney General of the Federation and the Presidency kept NCC and the Minister of Communications in the dark in the negotiations with MTN over the fine.

 

FG Warns ‘Saboteurs’ Against Manipulating Foreign Exchange

Abubakar-Malami-Minister-of-JusticeThe Nigerian government has warned ‘certain elements’ within some of the nation’s national institutions whom it said were using their accomplices to manipulate the foreign exchange market.

Reading a riot act to financial regulators on Wednesday, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, said the government was aware of the activities of the elements.

He said the individuals rather than exert their regulatory powers have chosen to manipulate the market to the detriment of the national economy.

“Deliberately Undermined”

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, Mr Malami said these forces, who have failed in their attempts to force devaluation of the Naira, were creating artificial currency situation with the aim of undermining the economic programme of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The current state of the Naira is not the result of neutral economic factors or directly related to demand and supply forces alone.

“On the contrary, and indeed, on a vary sad note, it is apparent that our national currency is being deliberately undermined through carefully orchestrated criminal conspiracies and manipulation by unscrupulous elements hiding under the clog of the so called market forces,” he stated.

Mr Malami describes the activities of currency manipulators as economic terrorism.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to investigating and prosecuting all indicted persons for economic sabotage.

“As a responsible government we cannot afford to allow such a situation anchored on unlawful alliances and criminal enterprise to continue unchecked when it is apparent that its primary objective is to sabotage the economic agenda of the present administration,” Mr Malami warned.

Recent government policies have resulted in the fall of the Naira in the parallel market, forcing the International Monetary Fund to advise Nigeria to lift the foreign exchange ban and allow a more flexible rate for the Naira.

But President Buhari said hard currency curbs were necessary, as Nigeria could no longer afford to import as much as it did in the past due to the falling oil revenues.

Chief Justice Advocates Legal And Institutional Reforms

Chief Justice of NigeriaThe Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, has called for legal and institutional reforms to combat financial and cybercrimes.

Justice Mohammed made the call on Tuesday at the annual conference on ‘Financial Fraud, Cybercrime and Cross Border Crimes’ held in Abuja.

He said that any inaction to reform the judicial system could endanger Nigeria’s future growth and stability.

However, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said that more anti-corruption bills would soon be forwarded to the National Assembly.

On his part, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, urged the National Assembly to pass into law, the proceeds of corruption bill which he said would speed up the reparation of stolen assets to Nigeria.

Both representatives from the financial institutions and the Nigeria judicial system were present at the conference to find a common solution to the problem of financial and cybercrimes.

FG Will Not Considered Plea Bargain For Anyone – Malami

Attorney General in Nigeria, Abubakar Malami on plea bargainThe Nigerian government will not consider plea bargain as an option for anyone facing prosecution for terrorism and financial crimes, a government official has said.

The Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, met with members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group in Abuja on Tuesday where he made the strong statement about the government’s willingness to prosecute offenders.

Mr Malami said that the government would not allow criminal cases to be compromised.

“The office of the Attorney General of the Federation will not advocate plea bargain for anyone,” he reiterated.

Jailed For Cowardice

The Minister of Justice also revealed that the government would audit high profile cases that had been compromised in the past.

During the meeting with the group, the Minister also discussed cases of soldiers jailed for cowardice against the Boko Haram Insurgency, with the BBOG pleading that the soldiers should be reinstated.

Led by BBOG’s Co-convener, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, they presented several issues before the Attorney General, including an immediate recall of the military men who were jailed for cowardice at the war front without arms.

The Nigerian Army had months ago arraigned 71 soldiers on several count charges including criminal conspiracy, conspiracy to commit mutiny, insubordinate behaviour and false accusation.

They were tried and discharged on some charges but found guilty and convicted on other charges including mutiny.

Five of the soldiers were discharged and acquitted while one was sentenced to 28 days in prison with hard labour.