Friday, 3rd December 2021
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

FG probes nine contracts signed in breach of due process by past govts

By John Akubo and Msugh Ityokura, Abuja
09 November 2021   |   4:08 am
The Federal Government has constituted a panel to investigate nine contracts signed by previous administrations capable of undermining the nation’s economy.

Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami PHOTO: Twitter

Lawmakers decry soaring judgment debts
The Federal Government has constituted a panel to investigate nine contracts signed by previous administrations capable of undermining the nation’s economy.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, made the disclosure when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, chaired by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele.

He pointed out that the P&ID contract signed without due process and procedure has the capacity to rip off $10 billion from Nigeria.

In 2017, a tribunal awarded P&ID $6.6 billion as damages. But the amount grew to $8.9 billion, with an additional $2.3 billion in accumulated interest at seven per cent rate per annum, following Nigerian government’s refusal to appeal the matter for over five years.

Malami, while responding to questions from members of the committee, explained that the contract was never allowed to pass through the Office of the Attorney General and that its clauses were inimical to Nigeria’s interest.

He said the taskforce set up for the probe will spend N1.1 billion in 2022 to carry out holistic investigation on nine other contracts signed against the interest of the country by previous administrations.

On the P&ID contract, he said: “Because of the fact that there was a preliminary conspiracy among key promoters of the contract, it was never allowed to pass through the Federal Executive Council for approval, neither was it allowed to pass through the Federal Ministry of Justice for vetting…In respect of P&ID, there were about nine contracts that were signed, at the same time, in breach of due processes and procedures.”

In his opening remarks, Bamidele lamented soaring judgment debts, which he described as a national embarrassment that requires urgent action from the Ministry of Justice.

The ministry proposed N11.8 billion for its 2022 budget, with personnel cost being N3.9 billion; overhead cost (exclusive of legal services), N2.4 billion; legal services, N2 billion; and capital budget, N3.5 billion.

Meanwhile, some members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Justice raised a point of order, yesterday, compelling chairman of the committee, Ugonna Ozurigbo, to reverse himself.

This happened when Malami appeared before the committee to defend his ministry’s budget.

Ozurigbo had ruled that Malami be allowed to take his leave without the traditional questioning by committee members.