Nigeria Owes More Than N150 Billion in Judgment Debt – Malami
Nigeria is yet to settle more than N150 billion in judgment debt, according to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
Mr. Malami made the comment during Channels Television’s Newsnight program which aired on Monday.
“Right now, there exists over N150 billion judgment debt against the interest of the federal government, as at 2015, when this government came into being,” Mr. Malami said.
“Our national assets all over the globe are experiencing one threat or the other, targeted at enforcing these judgments.”
However, some of the judgment debts are believed to have been obtained illegally, according to the Minister.
“What we have tried to do is to profile those judgment debts, look into the circumstances that gave rise to them, assess and analyse them from the possibilities of insider compromises, fraud and corrupt practices,” Malami said.
“We have a responsibility of striking a balance between genuine judgments and those that are beclouded with some elements of fraud and reasonable ground of suspicion of compromises.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Malami noted that the P&ID gas deal, which included the award of a $9.6 billion judgment debt, was unfair, illegal and unjustifiable.
“Mr President has ordered an investigation, directing agencies of government, including the EFCC and Police among others, to look into the circumstances that led to the (P&ID) award,” he said.
“The investigation report has indeed proven to be cogent and potent in terms of establishing fraud, thought of deceit, suppression of facts and obtaining arbitral award on account of material suppression of facts, on account that the tribunal was misled into making an award because of the inherent falsehood in the witness deposition.
“Arising from the conduct of investigations, we have, as a nation this time around, decided to initiate an action seeking to nullify the contract, having been obtained and executed in material breaches.
“The principal characters in P&ID Nigeria admitted to wrongdoings and they were charged to court, pleaded guilty and were convicted. Arising from that conviction there was an incidental order winding off P&ID Nigeria and forfeiture of their assets. We are also taking steps to give effect to these orders.”
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