$9bn PAID DAMAGES: Past government which signed the contract will be prosecuted —Malami

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has said that certain categories of contracts will henceforth be vetted before being signed by any Federal Government agency.

Malami made this comment in Abuja on Thursday while revealing his agenda on his first day of resumption at the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The re-appointed minister explained that the reason behind the decision was to curb corruption in public service, as well as to rid the country of financial institutions that aid and abet unethical financial practices against the country.

He also revealed that the Federal Government would prosecute everyone linked with the contract that resulted in the judgment of the United Kingdom, Business & Property Courts (the Commercial Court) which awarded a cumulative sum of $9bn award against Nigeria and in favour of a private firm, Process & Industrial Developments Limited.

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The minister questioned the sincerity of those behind the contract awarded in 2010, arguing that it formed part of the inglorious legacies of past administrations, which this government is being made to grapple with.

The ruling, delivered on Friday, August 16 by Justice Butcher, bordered on a 2010 contract Nigeria signed with paid, to the intent that the latter would build a state-of-the-art gas processing plant to refine natural gas (“wet gas”) into “lean gas” that Nigeria would receive free of charge to power its national electric grid.

The agreement suffered a setback and, in 2013, paid won a $6.6bn arbitration case against the Federal Government. Interest accrual on the money since the ruling had peaked at $9bn.

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Malami said the Justice Ministry will equally support the development and promotion of appropriate executive bills capable of achieving the objective of combating systemic and grand corruption ravaging the country.

“Where necessary, the Ministry shall initiate necessary executive orders to close apparent gaps in the anti-corruption initiatives currently in place in Nigeria.

“To complement this, we shall be improving on the Ministry‘s asset recovery drive through collaboration with relevant stakeholders, and leveraging technology for greater efficiency; Development of a culture of cohesive synergy between the three arms of government.

“This shall be characterized by a structured collaboration with the Legislature and the Judiciary. This shall entail a well-coordinated working relationship by the designated officials of the Ministry to ensure smooth interaction and coordination in all dealings”.

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