Nigerian govt blames judiciary for delays in recovery of $17bn stolen oil money

*Nigeria’s Attorney General of the Federation & Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

12 April 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian Government’s efforts at recovering huge sums of money stolen from undeclared proceeds of crude exports by oil companies over the years have been delayed by the Judiciary, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, has said.

Malami, who addressed lawmakers while appearing for an investigative hearing of the House of Representatives Committee to recover the sum of $17 billion stolen crude proceeds said they have nine cases going on against some international oil companies but that none has been concluded.

He said the delays in the cases were necessitated by some technicalities including delay tactics by lawyers to the oil companies which unfortunately is being condoned by the courts.

The AGF told the Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas-led committee that despite the nine cases, the Federal Government could go ahead to initiate criminal cases against the said companies, adding that although, no decision has been taken on that.

He informed the committee that five of the ongoing cases were instituted in Lagos, while four were filed in Abuja. According to him, “the cases in Lagos are FG vs Chevron, FG vs Total, FG vs Agip, FG vs Brass Oil Services Company Limited and FG vs Shell Petroleum Nigeria Limited.

“The cases filed in Abuja are FG vs Taleveras, FG vs Addax Petroleum Limited, FG vs Funfah Oil Limited and FG vs Consolidated Oil Limited.

“Notwithstanding the pendency of the cases, we cannot rule out the possibility of looking at criminal infractions”, the minister said.

Malami, however, challenged the lawmakers to pass bills such as the Proceeds of Crimes Bill for the fight against corruption of this administration to make meaningful headway, adding that such effort would hasten processes of recovering looted oil proceeds and pursuit of criminal proceedings arising from them.

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