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.

Court To Give Judgement On Wada’s Suit On December 4

wadaA Federal High Court in Abuja will on December 4 give judgement in a suit filed by the Governor of Kogi state, Captain Idris Wada and three others, challenging the powers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct supplementary election in Kogi State on December 5.

Governor Wada is specifically asking the court to declare him the winner of the November 21 governorship election in the state, following the death of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Abubakar Audu, who was leading.

However, the other persons, Johnson Usman, Emmanuel Daikwo and Emmanuel Igbokwe are asking the court to rule that a fresh governorship election should be conducted in the state.

The INEC had on November 22 declared the Kogi State governorship election inconclusive and subsequently announced that a supplementary election would be conducted to determine a clear winner.

The APC governorship candidate in the election, Mr Audu, who was leading by a margin of 41,000 votes, died few hours before the election was declared inconclusive.

After Mr Audu’s death the INEC asked the APC to substitute the candidate before the supplementary election date, a decision the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said was based on section 33 of the Electoral Act.

That section reads: “A political party shall not be allowed to change or substitute its candidate whose name has been submitted pursuant to section 31 of this candidate Act, except in the case of death or withdrawal by the candidate”.

Despite the controversies that had come up, with lawyers giving different interpretations to the Act, the APC on Monday chose Mr Yahaya Bello, as substitute for the late governorship candidate.

DSS Arrests Dasuki Again

dasukiThe operatives of Department of State Service (DSS) on Monday morning arrested the immediate past National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) in Abuja.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had fixed December 3 for the hearing of the motion filed by the Federal Government seeking to revoke the bail granted to the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, lawyer to the federal government, Mr Mohammed Diri, told the court that a notice of appeal has been lodged at the Court of Appeal challenging the judgment of the court granting bail to the former National Security Adviser.

The former NSA was charged to court with illegal possession of arms following a siege to his Abuja home and subsequent arrest in July. The charge against him was later expanded to include money laundering.

But a Federal High Court in Abuja granted Mr Dasuki permission to travel abroad for medical attention pending the commencement of his trial on the November 26 and 27.

Ruling on the application filed by Mr Dasuki, Justice Adeniyi Ademola granted the former National Security Adviser a period of three weeks within which to take care of his health abroad.

However, few days after this ruling, the home of Colonel Sambo Dasuki in the nation’s capital, Abuja was surrounded by men of the DSS and the siege was described as an attempt to ensure that he did not leave the country, as the former NSA accused the Federal Government of abuse of power.

The DSS debunked the claim that its operatives invaded the home of the former National Security Adviser in defiance of a court order granting him permission to travel abroad for medical treatment.

The DSS in a statement, explained that the action by its officers is caused by the refusal of Mr. Dasuki to honour an invitation by a committee investigating his alleged involvement in the 2 billion dollars arms procurement process by the past administration.

The statement added that his refusal to appear before the committee compelled the DSS to adopt a legal means to ensure his attendance.

“Sambo was initially arrested and charged to court for unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering, for which reason his international passport was seized and on the order of the court, returned to the registrar for custody.

“What has however brought the seeming standoff between Sambo and the Service, despite the court-ordered release of his international passport on 4th November, 2015, is his refusal to appear before a Committee undertaking the investigation of an entirely different case.” the DSS said.

The former National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Sambo Dasuki, denied ever receiving any invitation letter to appear before a committee set up by the current administration to investigate procurement processes relating to any arms transaction by the last administration, under which he served.

 

Dasuki’s Bail Revocation Suit: Court Fixes Dec. 3 For Hearing

DasukiA Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed December 3 for the hearing of the motion filed by the Federal Government seeking to revoke the bail granted to the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

At the resumed hearing of the suit, lawyer to the federal government, Mr Mohammed Diri, told the court that a notice of appeal has been lodged at the Court of Appeal challenging the judgment of the court granting bail to the former National Security Adviser.

Ruling on another application seeking to ensure the presence of Colonel Dasuki in court, Justice Adeniyi Ademola said that it is not compulsory for a defendant to be present in court when interlocutory applications are being heard. He added that, in line with Section 266b of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, accused persons are mandated to be in court during trial for criminal cases.

Colonel Sambo Dasuki, who pleaded not guilty to a one-count charge of alleged illegal possession of firearms, preferred against him by the federal government had earlier been granted bail by a Federal High Court to enable him seek medical attention abroad.