By Godson Ikiebey-
Abubakar Malami, minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation (AGF), has once again spoken on the debt recovery contract he awarded to Trobell International Limited.
You will recall that TheCable report claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari terminated the contract over the “incredible” commission which amounted to $2.15 billion (N774 billion) at the initial estimate of $43 billion.
The president was said to have been alarmed by the five percent commission recommended for Trobell which was to help secure unpaid arrears to Nigeria from the oil production sharing contracts (PSCs) with multinational companies.
Responding, the minister defended the five percent commission, describing it as an innovation compared to the “30 percent” paid under former President Goodluck Jonathan. He said:
“The 5% as a recovery fee is a product of innovation introduced by the Federal Government upon the assumption of office of President Muhammadu Buhari as against 30% and above which was the traditional fee by the previous administration”.
But in another statement Umar Gwandu, his spokesman, issued on his behalf on Thursday, November 28, 2019, Malami said his engagement in the recovery is because of his patriotism to the country.
“The effort was neither propelled by any ulterior motive nor about gratification of any personal desire through any percentage to be given to the recovery agent, but of an unflinching patriotic commitment to get back to the country the revenue it deserves.
“It has never been the tradition of the Attorney-General of the Federation to demand much-less of accepting a Kobo on matters relating to such engagements and conduct of his official duties.
“Multiple agents were overtime engaged in that respect without pecuniary consideration”.
The minister said it was Trobell which first brought the recovery idea and payment of the professional fee is “exclusive function” of the ministry of finance, budget, and national planning.
“It is a function exclusively vested in Federal Ministry of Finance which has the right to vet, confirm and interrogate issues before any payment is made.
“And payments are made upon recovery directly to the recovery agent and not to the Office of Attorney-General.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation is determined to protect his integrity against individuals and corporate personalities bent on tarnishing his reputation in the conduct of government affairs”.
The AGF, however, failed to comment on the termination of the contract by the president.