A former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has punctured reports that he is on the run over allegations of corruption.
Following the suspension of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, over his conduct while in office by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Wednesday, there have been reports that Malami has left the country in a bid to evade arrest and investigation.
Malami, who hails from Kebbi State, held sway as the chief law officer of the country throughout the eight years reign of President Muhammadu Buhari. When Bawa was named as the EFCC chair in 2021, Malami exclusively told this paper that he recommended him based on his competence.
“I am happy that most of the comments made are not on his capacity, intelligence, competence and associated ability to deliver. His capacity to deliver was never questioned across the nation,” he said in March 2021.
However, the suspension of Bawa on Wednesday has raised dust about the stewardship of Malami.
A source at the EFCC told this newspaper that the anti-graft agency was interested to find out from Malami the alleged loss of over $2.4 billion in revenue from the illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil export in 2015 including all crude oil exports and sales by Nigeria from 2014 till date. He said the former minister has been invited.
The source added that there are other issues the former attorney-general of the federation would respond to when he finally honours the invitation.
But in an exclusive interview last night, Malami said, “I have not been invited by the EFCC or any other anti-corruption agency in Nigeria. I’m available in Nigeria and attending a wedding Fatiha slated for 2.30 at Sheikh Isiyaka Rabi’u Mosque, Kano, tomorrow (today).
“I have no plan of leaving Nigeria and I will gladly honour any invitation extended to me by any agency of government. I’m a true Nigerian and I believe in the Nigerian project.
“I will make myself available to Nigeria and its institutions on demand.”
On his part, the former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, who was also reported to have been invited by the EFCC, has faulted the claim.
In a phone interview, he said, “Well, maybe they invited me in their imagination, but what I do know is that I had gone to see the former chairman (Bawa) last week, and I have not received any invitation. If they want to invite me, I’m here.”
When asked whether he went to see Bawa based on his invitation or personally, he said, “I did not get any invitation from the EFCC, Oga, that’s what I said to you. I have not been invited. If I’m invited, it is not any news or no news; I can go whenever I’m invited.
“If they invite me today, I will appear. I was a public officer and I am accountable for my actions. Public officers are accountable for their actions. If I’m invited by the EFCC, I will go. I’ve not seen any invitation. I am in my house, and I’m based in Abuja, not Kaduna, and they are also here in Abuja.”
There were reports that Sirika was summoned over how he handled Nigerian Air. The anti-graft agency had already questioned officials of the proposed national carrier over the recent launch of the airline in Abuja.
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