Malami: Justice Ministry Needs N30bn Annually to Settle N150bn Debt

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Wednesday disclosed that the debt judgments incurred by the federal government had risen to N150 billion.

He also sought for a 2.5 percent commission for the federal ministry of justice from the $76.538 million recovered so far from Abacha loot and other recoveries.

Malami, who made the request while defending his ministry’s 2020 budget proposal before the Senate’s Committee on Judiciary headed by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, said it was high time he pushed for approval of 2.5 per cent as requisite commission arising from recovery of the country’s stolen assets stashed off the shores of Nigeria.

He explained that the Justice ministry deserves a sizeable commission from the recoveries “to replenish our efforts as a unit of asset recovery in the Federal Ministry of Justice has evidently deposited all recoveries so far into the federal government treasury”.

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The minister said there are several protocols and agreements which Nigeria is obligated that requires constant travels “and to keep faith at these for a. I will like to request for a dedicated expenditure item to service these crucial international obligations in order not to renege our responsibilities as a nation”.

Malami who identified paucity of funds as a notorious challenge facing the ministry in the execution of its mandate, however, assured of its readiness to forge ahead.

“We shall not relent on what we have set out to accomplish largely because the rule of law is undoubtedly the pillar of democracy the world over, the rule of law is good and noble but greatly capital intensive”.

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He disclosed that the debt judgments incurred by the federal government had risen to N150 billion.

The AGF stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.

He said the bills accumulated because the ministry was not funded regularly to meet its obligations in that regard.

He, therefore, appealed to the Senate panel to appropriate N30 billion to the ministry annually to defray the debts.

He said, “The Ministry of Justice was mandated to take inventory and explore avenues for the payment of judgment debt which has become hydra-headed.

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“This has arisen because it was only in 2017 that the sum of N10 billion was disbursed for the payment of judgment debt as appropriated.

“As it stands, the sum of over N150 billion remains unpaid, prompting beneficiaries of this sum to keep mounting pressure on the ministry.

“Distinguished members of this committee are hereby respectively requested to intervene on this long standing vex issue by appropriating the sum of N30 billion annually to mitigate this challenge.

“It will also forestall possible friction, accrued interests and unwarranted litigations arising from our failure to effect payment.”

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