Abacha loot: U.S-based lawyer says Attorney General Malami ‘lying’, threatens lawsuit

Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami
PHOTO: Daily Trust
Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami PHOTO: Daily Trust

A United States-based lawyer has threatened to sue Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for defamation if he fails to apologise within 48 hours for his comment on the controversy surrounding the return of N218 billion ($550 million) recovered Abacha loot.

Godson Nnaka, who was recruited in 2004 by the Nigerian government to recover funds stolen by late dictator Sani Abacha, had instituted a case in a U.S. district court seeking 40 percent of the recovered loot. He also asked to be made the funds’ exclusive attorney.

According to Mr. Nnaka, he was kicked out of the fund recovery case after he had spent money and time to find and recover the funds.

He also alleged that Mr. Malami jilted him after he turned down his demand to part with a kickback of as much as 70 percent of his fee, to access documentations needed for him to act on behalf of the country.

While responding to the allegation that he demanded bribe, the minister told PREMIUM TIMES that he decided to end the partnership after Mr. Nnaka threatened to embarrass President Muhammadu Buhari during one of his trips to the U.S., if he was not given the necessary documentations.

“So when I was appointed into office he approached me for such instruction. But then what annoyed me most was that he now used threat. He threatened me that if I do not give him the letter of instruction, when Mr President’s flight arrives in New York, he would embarrass the federal government. I then became annoyed because I do not naturally stand to threat. Nobody can intimidate me like a baby for procuring a letter of instruction. And on that basis I said he should do his worst. That was the genesis of the problem,” he said in a telephone interview.

READ ALSO: SPECIAL REPORT: Nigeria risks losing N218billion Abacha loot  as Justice Minister Malami, US-based attorney, battle

However, a statement by Mr. Nnaka’s U.S.-based counsel, Bennett Amadi, claimed his client had never met with Mr. Malami personally nor had any conversation with him on the phone.

Mr Amadi had also told PREMIUM TIMES that all correspondences between his client and the AGF had been done through attorneys.

“I wish to state categorically that Dr. Nnaka did not make any of the alleged statements. As a matter of fact, Dr. Nnaka has never held any meeting/discussion, personal, telephone or otherwise with Mr. Malami on any subject at all or on the subject of the Abacha Loots, whether in Nigeria or anywhere in the world.

“It is therefore very pathetic to think of how low Mr. Malami could descend to peddle deliberate lies and conscious misrepresentations against Dr. Nnaka.

“While it is common knowledge that anyone fighting corruption, like Mr. Nnaka, is often threatened, abused and vilified, I consider the alleged statements Mr. Malami has attributed to Dr. Nnaka as mere reckless fabrications designed by Mr. Malami to further injure and damage Dr. Nnaka.”

He therefore said that Mr. Malami has 48 hours from Wednesday to retract the statements and allegations as well as publish an apology in PREMIUM TIMES and five other Nigerian newspapers or be ready to be slammed with a defamation charge.

“Accordingly, I hereby demand of Mr. Malami to retract those statements and senseless allegations, and immediately issue a public apology to Dr. Nnaka, within the next forty-eight (48) hours, in the PREMIUM TIMES newspaper and in five other Nigerian National newspapers and two online Magazines, in the absence of which, I will initiate a libel and defamation suit on behalf of Dr. Nnaka and seek justice against Mr. Abubakar Malami, personally, in the Court of appropriate jurisdiction.”

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  • Suleiman

    THIS IS THE CHANGE GULLIBLE NIGERIANS VOTED FOR! IT IS TO HAVE ROGUES LIKE MALAMI HEADING HE JUSTICE MINISTRY THAT SHOULD BE DRIVING THE ANTI-CORRUPTION WAR. WE ARE WATCHING AS THINGS UNFOLD. HE CAN STRIKE A DEAL WITH MTN AND ROB NIGERIA OF BILLIONS, BUT LET’S SEE HOW HE ESCAPES THIS ONE. CHANGI DOLE!

  • ahmed

    Buhari is a thief and criminal. Buhari once said that Abacha did not steal, but today we are witnessing what Abacha and his family stole from Nigeria. Hausa/Fulani are terrible criminals and killers.

    • Pat

      You are just an ethnic bigot!

    • Mufu Ola

      But they are still learning from our brothers in the East.

  • Olori Magege

    How come we only get crooked AGF?

    • Gary

      Because those who appoint/ed them are themselves corrupt and need a corrupt AGF to subvert due process and loot the treasury. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

      • Olori Magege

        makes a hell of sense. thanks for the insight

  • blow fissh

    He be like say this tory get kleg small per the following statement.

    “I wish to state categorically that Dr. Nnaka did not make any of the alleged statements. As a matter of fact, Dr. Nnaka has never held any meeting/discussion, personal, telephone or otherwise with Mr. Malami on any subject at all or on the subject of the Abacha Loots, whether in Nigeria or anywhere in the world.”

    If you never met nor had any conversation with AG, who appointed you and who were you reporting or do you intend to report to?

    • Rosebud

      He was not appointed by Malami but by a former AGF, Olujimi, according to Dr Nnaka. The question now, is how was the bribe demand made if they never talked or met?

    • Blessing Ekpere Ogbu

      “Mr Amadi had also told PREMIUM TIMES that all correspondences between his client and the AGF had been done through attorneys.”

  • Rosebud

    Hold on! So, if Dr Nnaka “… had never met with Mr. Malami personally nor had any conversation with him on the phone.” how was the demand for 70% of his fees made by Malami? Did Malami send him a letter of demand or was that demand made through 3rd parties on behalf of Malami? If they have never spoken or met personally, then surely it follows that evidence of Malami’s bribe demand must be documentary, electronic or by proxy. Dr Nnaka would be best advised to go public with what he has asap.

    • 24_okeke

      the demand can be made through his representitive because it will be worst for him to say it out himself even on phone. the evidence can come out anytime.

      • Rosebud

        But anybody must confirm before payments? Remember o, no receipt for that transaction. Oga must confirm before negotiations.

    • Wetin Naija

      Typical Nigerian corrupt ways. Asking for kick backs

      • Rosebud

        Maybe, there again, maybe not.

    • Okey Okoye

      Good question but i tend to lean towards the Dr. Nnaka. You cannot trust Nigerian ministers. They are corrupt. No truth comes out of their mouth. For the fact Dr.Nnaka lives here and knows the ethics in law makes a whole lots of sense, i could be wrong.

      • Rosebud

        Yeah, ok. But 70%? Haba!

    • Blessing Ekpere Ogbu

      Mr Amadi had also told PREMIUM TIMES
      that all correspondences between his
      client and the AGF had been done
      through attorneys.

      • Rosebud

        Ok, but, attorneys or not, wouldn’t there come a time for direct confirmation? I would be incredulous, like in, did he really ask for that much? There would come a need to hear from the horse’s mouth.

    • paul irumundomon

      He just said there was a contact, as to revisiting the contract modalities and embarrassing buhari, if the deal fail to continue. So there is already confirmations of contact of some sort.

      • Rosebud

        He who? It was Malami that said Dr Nnaka said so. But Dr Nnaka’s lawyer said they didn’t meet ever. That’s why I ask, if there was no contact how did the deal happen, how was the bribe or offer made without one on one confirmation? How does one party know what they’re being told is from the horse’s mouth? 7

    • paul irumundomon

      I don’t know if you are a Nigeria, I am. I did business in Nigeria and I knew people out there, without verifications, the efcc boss demanded money period. In the previous efcc administrations, money collected from criminals were missing, was any one prosecuted, no. That is the level of lies and deciets, Nigerians face every day, even at night, the fucked up churches and musque, won’t allow those, who spent eights commute every day of their lives, going and ming from work, to do minimum wage pay, to have a good sleep with their noises of lies.

      Those people, who believes the only thieves in Nigeria, are Jonathan and pdp. They forgot their political agenda and chase looters, as their new economic plans.

      Buhari said Abacha is not a thief, Abdul salam, his now new Adviser is not a thief, obj is not a thief and babagida is not a thief, the only thief is jonathan, the recession came because of Jonathan six years in office.

      Those who ruled Nigeria, from 1963 are all saint, this should worry those who want Nigeria to move forward. I’m not a pdp or apc God forbid, the truth be said, those who are apc members, don’t you all know those, who jumped to pdp that are worse in terms of crimes they commited, those apc members who equally commited same or worse crimes, like their pdp counterparts.

      The premise is, who is telling us the truth, those people in aso rock today or those that were there yesterday. Nigeria is paronoid about Nigerians. Until we talk to each other, and see ourselves as equal, not the north systems of buhari style, is all going to be a waist of energy.

      • Rosebud

        Malami is the Attorney General of the Federation and our Justice Minister, not the EFCC boss. I am Nigerian but doubt very strongly if you are, surely if you were, you’d know the difference in portfolios between Malami and Magu.

        • Irumundomon

          That is not the premise of our topic, hair splinting never helped, to disguise as excuse. My name tells you I’m a Nigerian and your name did not represent a Nigerian name.
          Portfolios is your more of concerns than the accusations and lies. What difference does it make, if you switch the names around, is the same result it will yield, fraud, lies and deceit. Let me tell you a little story, about three months ago, the rumour broke concerning buhari kids in UK school, one of the newspapers, brought out, the cost of their school, then Nigetians were not aware, he got two kids attending school in the UK. The price they quoted was above what the school charge per student. They reported the story on the papers and not complained his kids were in the UK studing, but that buhari is not as modest as majority of Nigerians think he is. Just like you, within a day or two, a Nigeria Google the school, tabulated the school fees from the school website, he also included the cost of living and the the first class ticket. Why I want you to read this is, after refuting what was published as lies, he too, who became an investigator, lied about the cost of living in England by the family of the first citizen of Nigeria, he has never been one, two he came up with cost of first class ticket, obviously, he was able to Google the school and show what the school charge foreign students, but when the time to also not be bias like buhari, he was, came up with rediculouse price. I don’t know why Nigerians love to fight truth, when they see it. I would have expected the story to center about the bribes he asked for and not when he was appointed or the name of his office or his years of exoerience, these are immaterial. Anyway, I am a Nigerian and my name proudly displayed that, I’m not afraid to show or display my name, any where in the world, thank you.

      • Rosebud

        What are you really going on about? Of course it matters that you don’t know which is which. It simply goes to show you have no idea about what you’re talking about.

  • I wonder what that charge-and-bail lawyer still doing as our AGF

  • Wetin Naija

    Typical Nigerian corrupt way. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Malami demanded for kick back. I live in the US, doing business with Nigerian government intend to corrupt the moral principle of America.

    • blow fissh

      You may be right, but have you asked yourself how do you demand bribe from someone you have never communicated with? “As a matter of fact, Dr. Nnaka has never held any meeting/discussion, personal, telephone or otherwise with Mr. Malami on any subject at all or on the subject of the Abacha Loots, whether in Nigeria or anywhere in the world.”

      • Blessing Ekpere Ogbu

        “Mr Amadi had also told PREMIUM TIMES that all correspondences between his client and the AGF had been done through attorneys.”

      • paul irumundomon

        In the eye of the law, no. There are so many ways to demand money, from someone you don’t even know, contact here is irrelivant. We are talking of high profile fraud, not tomatoes or Garri deals.

  • paul irumundomon

    I was duped in Nigeria, I went to almost every police station, just to get the fraud star arested, each station I was treated like I commit the offence and not a complainant. When I eventually got some money back, the Nigeria police. took ten percent of my money.

    What the this man failed to understand, is that American law is like a draft, unlike Nigeria law, which is like oludo. He has been treating lawyers in Nigeria like his gate men, he said is not intimidated, that is only in Nigeria, where laws favor some people from some sections of the country, let him come to the U S, a fresh man straight out of law school, will take him to the cleaners in practicality of law. The Saint buhari almost spent a year to put together, as members of his cabinent. Nigerians who chose the American ways, are different from the likes of ibori and tinubu, money and power don’t intimidate people in America, like it is in the zoo over there, where the power of voters are sold and bought. by the highest bidders.