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FG Set To Investigate Fraudulent Contracts Signed By Previous Administrations

Nigeria Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has on Monday said that the Federal Government will constitute a task force to investigate fraudulent contracts signed by previous administrations.

Malami, disclosed this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to defend his ministry’s 2022 budget estimates.

Malami said the task force was to checkmate looting of government resources arising from the conspiracy and connivance between international businessmen and Nigerian civil servants.

He said such conspiracy resulted in the unhealthy effect of the P&ID contract, which, he said, would have ripped Nigeria over $10 billion because it was unduly vetted and never allowed to pass through the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The minister said the constitution of the probe panel would provide an opportunity to review contracts similar to that of the P&ID to protect the country from impending liabilities, and that those responsible are brought to justice.

He said, “The task force is intended to review the existing problematic contracts that have the capacity to undermine the economy.

“In the Office of the Attorney General, there exist two fundamental departments relating to the vetting of contracts.

“Solicitor Department is charged with vetting any government’s contract and they have lived up to expectations over time.

“But the major problem with P&ID is that the contract was never ever allowed to pass through the Office of the Attorney General for vetting.

“So, on the account of that, they embedded in the contract clauses that are inimical to the interest of the nation.

“Because of the fact that there is a preliminary conspiracy among the key promoters of the contract, the contract was never allowed to pass through the Federal Executive Council, FEC for its approval, neither was it allowed to pass through the Federal Ministry of Justice for vetting.

“The existing structures are there, but they can only act in respect of contracts that are referred to the department.

“What I’m saying, in essence, is that the task force is poised at looking at it.

“In respect of P&ID, there were about nine contracts that were signed at the same time in breach of due processes and procedures.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of the committee, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti) decried the rising judgement debts, which, according to him, has become a national embarrassment.

He said, “It is also pertinent to state that the judgement debt profile of the country keeps soaring without a corresponding response from the government in order to address the situation.

“This development is now viewed as a national embarrassment and necessary action must be taken to ensure that the image of the country is protected.

“In this regard, I implore you to prioritize your budget and make a case for legislative intervention where necessary in order to ensure that this area of concern is critically looked into with a view to proffering the much-needed solution.”

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