The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Thursday, said the anti-corruption agencies would beam their searchlight on banks that had been aiding corrupt practices in the country.
He said the Federal Government, through his ministry, would work closely with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to ensure that banks involved in corrupt practices are sanctioned. Speaking during his first full day in office in Abuja after his Wednesday’s re-appointment as the AGF, Malami also promised to pursue judicial reforms, including proposing an amendment to the Constitution, that would provide an innovative way to tackle congestion of cases at the Supreme Court.
On financial institutions’ involvement in corruption, he said, as bad news to the rogues within our financial system, in the next four years, the Federal Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with anti-corruption agencies, will beam searchlight on the financial institutions and non-designated financial institutions in order to make them pay dearly for the dastardly roles they played and are still playing in encouraging and deepening corruption in Nigeria.
From arms procurement fraud, INEC bribery case to Diezani case and several others, quantitative data available to the Federal Government abundantly shows that financial institutions are directly involved in most of the major corruption cases investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission from 2015 till date. Malami also said the Federal Government would bring to book former and current government officials who caused the August 19, 2019 award of $9bn by a British court against Nigeria.
He said the anti-corruption agencies, under his watch, would be beaming searchlight on banks, and other financial institutions, and non-designated financial institutions, which he said are involved in most of the major corruption cases. A United Kingdom court presided over by Justice Butcher had on August 16, 2019, awarded $9bn in favour a foreign firm, Process and Industrial Developments Limited.
The court did this by granting an enforcement application which converted the arbitration award secured by the Process and Industrial Development Limited into a domestic UK judgment against Nigeria. The Federal Government had insisted that the money was awarded in favour of the Process and Industrial Development Limited despite that the 20 years old project of accelerated gas development, in Nigeria’s OMLs 67 and 123, for which it was meant for was never executed.
It said it would take steps to stop the enforcement of the judgment. On Thursday, Malami described the award by the UK court as sad, and dubbed it as part of the consequences of the underhand dealings of the past administrations.