The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has disclosed that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has not incurred any judgement debt since the inception of the administration in 2015.
He disclosed this on Thursday during the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the presidential communication team at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
According to him, all 648 cases that the ministry was defending against the federal government, which were at different stages of trial, were incurred by previous administrations.
He said the sums of N54,888,343,888.42 billion and $507,415,901.1 million were saved from successfully defending the federal government, adding that not even a single kobo was paid by the federal government as professional legal services for the defense of the cases.
The AGF said: “I wish to emphasise that the Federal Ministry of Justice has indeed been diligent in providing the necessary defenses in support of the federal government.
“By way of digression, let me tell you, before this government came into power, a lot of judgment debts were incurred, inclusive of the Paris Club that constitute a contentious subject in the system.
“But one thing I can clearly say, ever since the coming of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, not a single major high profile judgment was entered against the federal government. All the judgement debts in contention that we are battling to defend were indeed inherited judgement against the interests of the federal government incurred by the previous administrations.
“So, arising from the diligent defenses we have been undertaking, we have succeeded within the period of 18 months, in addressing and avoiding liabilities on the part of the federal government that run into around N54,888,343,888.42.
“Those cases, we diligently, successfully defended the federal government which translated into Naira and Kobo avoidance of liability. Again, we have equally succeeded in defending the federal government to avoid liability in the sum of $507,415,901.1 million dollars.
“So these cases were handled by the State Counsels in the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, and not a kobo was paid by the federal government as professional legal services for the defense of these cases.
“What I’m trying to say in essence is that we have succeeded as a ministry, in building capacity of the lawyers in the office and in the chambers of the Attorney General, and these lawyers have indeed succeeded in recording this feat in defense of the federal government.”
Malami also said that the administration in 18 months has generated the sum of N1,823,788,146.86 from sales of bid forms for forfeited assets.
He said: “You are aware that the President has put in place inter-ministerial committee that was saddled with the responsibility of not only identifying the forfeited assets, but indeed disposing same. So that committee has been working and within the period of 18 months, a total sum of N1,823,788,146.86 has been generated so far from the sale of bid forms, because forms were sold to those that are interested.”
The minister noted that the Ministry, through the CCG unit, was coordinating the next phase of terrorism related trials in collaboration with the Federal High Court, the Legal Aid Council, and the Defense Headquarters (DHQ).
The minister also disclosed that the government has recovered over N3.2bn (£6,324,627.66) of stolen monies from various jurisdictions globally from March 2021 to May 2022.
The AGF, who noted that the Justice Ministry has supported the Federal Government in various infrastructure funding agreements, lamented that the country currently grapples with a N329 billion funding gap.
He explained that an inter-ministerial committee on the audit and recovery of years on stamp duty has so far recovered N596,055,479.47.
“This exercise also provided job opportunities for over 1,000 professionals including lawyers, accountants, auditors, and financial consultants. The ongoing exercise has so far led to the recovery of the sum of N596,055,569.47,” Malami added.