Malami speaks allegation of losing $2.4b from crude oil sale to China

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The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has dismissed claims that Nigeria lost over $2.4 billion revenue from alleged illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil exported in 2015 to China.

He spoke at the resumed hearing of the House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee investigating the alleged sale.

Malami who is the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, described the allegations as baseless, unfounded and lacking in merit and substance at the hearing on Thursday in Abuja.

The House had in December 2022 resolved to constitute an ad-hoc committee to probe the allegation when it adopted a motion sponsored by Rep. Isiaka Ibrahim from Ogun State at plenary.

Malami said the office of the AGF had filed a criminal suit against the individuals who purportedly raised the allegations being investigated by the Ad-hoc Committee.

According to him, the Individuals have attempted to defraud the Federal Government under the guise that the alleged crude oil stolen in China has been recovered.

Malami said the ongoing investigation initiated by the House was unconstitutional and subjudice, adding that the prosecution of the petitioners, which started in 2019, suffered setback as a result of series of adjournments caused by the absence of the accused persons.

He said the allegation in its own right was devoid of any reasonable ground, pointing to a material suspicion cogent enough to invoke the constitutional oversight of the committee.

Malami said: “Let me state on record and for the benefit of Nigerians and the committee that the allegations relating to the 48 million barrels are baseless.

“The allegation is unfounded. It lacks merit and indeed substance.

“The allegation in its own right is devoid of any reasonable ground pointing to a material suspicion cogent enough to invoke the constitutional oversight of the committee.

“In 2016, allegations were rife and hyped in the social media.

“There were allegations of existence of stolen 48 million barrels of Nigerian crude in China said to have been valued $2.4 billion.”

He said President Muhammadu Buhari requested the Group Chief Executive officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mele Kyari; Lawal Daura, former Director General of the Department of State Services; and late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; and himself to look into it and advice accordingly.

He said his office was instrumental to the recovery of various sums of fund deposited in the Asset Recovery Account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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