The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said on Thursday that he had no ulterior motive in the ongoing efforts to recover about $62.1bn owed Nigeria by some oil companies.
Mr Malami said this in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu.
The statement was reacting to claims that he had a plan to receive kickback from the Trobell International (Nig) Ltd, the firm engaged by his office to carry out the recovery.
According to the statement, “The contract was neither propelled by any ulterior motive nor about gratification of any personal desire through any percentage to be given to the recovery agent, but of an unflinching patriotic commitment to get back to the country the revenue it deserves.”
The Cable had reported that the Presidency had disengaged Trobell from the recovery contract due to the huge amount which the five percent recovery fee to be paid to the firm would translate into.
Mr Malami who has remained silent on whether Trobell had been truly disengaged, had defended the five per cent recovery fee which he said was modest compared to the targeted amount of money to be recovered for Nigeria.
On Thursday, the minister said, there was no personal gain he would derive from the recovery contract.
He was quoted as saying, “It has never been the tradition of the Attorney-General of the Federation to demand much-less of accepting a Kobo on matters relating to such engagements and conduct of his official duties.
“Multiple agents were overtime engaged in that respect without pecuniary consideration.”
He said the whole idea of the recovery was that of Trobell, adding that he had no control over the process of paying professional fees.
He also said the process of paying the professional fees was exclusively the function of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning
He said, “It is a “function exclusively vested in Federal Ministry of Finance which has the right to vet, confirm and interrogate issues before any payment is made.
“And payments are made upon recovery directly to the recovery agent and not to the Office of Attorney-General.”
Malami said rather than “adopting campaign of calumny, evasive and dilly-dally techniques and tactics, the oil companies and their allies should channel such efforts toward paying the Federal Government its due, so as to execute more developmental projects in the country”.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation is determined to protect his integrity against individuals and corporate personalities bent on tarnishing his reputation in the conduct of government affairs,” the statement added.