by Linda Ikeji
Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice has reacted to the coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) petition to President Buhari to probe him over “14 high-profile corruption cases”.
The AGF who was accused of “financial fraud” and “influence peddling” by the CSOs, stated that he needed to write the President to clear his name before seeking redress in court.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria insisted that he had a “successful legal practice of more than 20 years” and “owned lucrative businesses” which he earned income from, before his appointment in 2015.
Malami affirmed that he declared all his assets and statements of accounts upon his assumption of office, and none of them were gotten through fraudulent means.
“While the code of conduct for public officers prohibits my active participation in the running of my already established ventures, it does not preclude me from gaining the fruit of my establishments.
“Since my appointment as a minister in your cabinet, I have conducted myself strictly within the confines of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers contained in Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended.
“It is to be noted that apart from my successful legal practice of more than 20 years, seven of which were as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, before my appointment, I have as allowed by law had interests in business ventures, all of which I had resigned from active participation upon my appointment.
“Among other things, I owned lucrative business ventures of Rayhaan Hotels and Rayhaan Food & Drinks, both in Kano, since December 13, 2013, years before the 2015 election that saw to the victory of President Muhamadu Buhari as the President and long before I was appointed to be a Minister in the first term. That informs why those items were included among 27 property listed in the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Form filled by Malami when he was first appointed a minister.
“Apart from the above as income from the government, Your Excellency is invited to also note that while the Code of Conduct for Public Officers prohibits my active participation in the running of my already established ventures, it does not preclude me from gaining the fruit of my establishments. Hence, earnings from mainly the hotels, restaurants, farms are used to either improve these ventures or to expand and build new ones. In all these, the requirement of the law is that I declare at the point of exit from office as I have declared at the point of entry.
“On assumption of office in 2015, I had course as a constitutional requirement to file my assets declaration form at the point of assuming duty as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria detailing my assets which include: my houses (both residential and others) farmlands, hotel, school and other enterprises.
“Statements of accounts from all my banks were also submitted to the Code of Conduct which were duly verified as is the procedure after submission is made. A copy of the form is attached hereto as annexure1, should Your Excellency wish to personally review it. “As a public officer, my sources of income were streamlined and narrowed to my entitlements from the government coffers. These entitlements come in the form of salaries, allowances and estacodes. For the period, I have served as a Minister (for the 1st term) starting from November 11, 2015 to May 28, 2019, the cumulative figure of what constitutes these entitlements is as provided for in our laws relating to the salary and emoluments of political office holders.
“I have taken a personal decision to seek remedy from the court as a result of the series of derogatory contents so published against me. In the same vein, I have written the Inspector General of Police to investigate the matter.”