The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami on Tuesday blamed the judiciary for the delay in the recovery of $17 billion allegedly stolen from undeclared proceeds of crude exports by oil companies.
Testifying at the hearing of the Abdulrazak Namdas-led House of Representatives adhoc Committee charged with the mandate to recover the $17 billion stolen crude proceeds, he explained that there were nine inconclusive suits filed against some international oil majors.
He blamed the counsel who cashed in on legal technicalities and delay tactics to delay the dispensation of justice on the issue and hinted of plans to initiate criminal proceedings against the oil firms. He disclosed that five of the suits were instituted in Lagos, while four were filed in Abuja. The cases filed in Lagos are FG versus Chevron, FG versus Total, FG versus Agip, FG versus Brass Oil Services Company Limited and FG versus Shell Petroleum Nigeria Limited.
The cases filed in Abuja involve the Federal Government versus Taleveras, Adax Petroleum Limited, Funfah Oil Limited and Consolidated Oil Limited. “Notwithstanding the pendency of the cases, we cannot rule out the possibility of looking at criminal infractions,” Malami said.
Charging the National Assembly to pass bills such as the Proceeds of Crimes Bill for the fight against corruption to make a meaningful headway, he emphasised the need for the three arms of government to be on the same page to achieve the desired goal in the crusade to rid the country of corruption.