A lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, on Saturday criticised the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, over allegation that he bought a N1 billion property located at Maitama, Abuja.
While testifying before the National Assembly recently, Mr. Malami had said that a ‘Lagos lawyer’ bought one of the properties seized from pension thieves and handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The embattled former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, had earlier accused the lawyer of buying the building, located at 43, Gana Street, Maitama.
In a statement on Saturday, Mr. Falana said he decided to join issues with Mr. Malami over his false claim that the EFCC sold the property in question to him.
”Contrary to Malami’s claim I never bought any property from the EFCC,” the lawyer said, adding that the house was one of the assets used as collateral in a loan obtained from Bank PHB by A Group Properties “over 10 years ago”.
“He (Mr. Malami) would also have found that the property is a subject matter of a suit which is currently pending before the federal high court sitting at Abuja. (See Suit No /2015 between Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria v A Group Properties Limited).
“The suit was instituted by AMCON due to the failure of the company to liquidate the loan. In granting the ex parte application filed by AMCON in the matter the court ordered an interim forfeiture of the assets of A Group Properties Limited including No 42, Gana Street, Maitama District, Abuja. The said order was granted on November 11, 2015.
“However, in a bid to pay the loan, A Group Properties Limited decided to sell some of the properties. The sale of the property in question to me was made subject to the setting aside of the order of interim forfeiture which had been obtained by AMCON.
“Up till now,” Mr. Falana said, “the case has not been concluded as the parties have asked for time to resolve the dispute amicably and file terms of settlement. To that extent, the transaction on the property remains inchoate.”
The statement explained further that although the said order of interim forfeiture was granted in favour of AMCON over two years ago, the attorney general has not deemed it fit to disclose to the federal high court that the property was recovered by the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform.
“Having regard to the facts and circumstances of this case, Maina’s allegation that the management of the EFCC sold the property at No 42, Gana Street, Maitama District, Abuja or any property to me is a figment of his fecund imagination for mischief,” he said.
The human rights lawyer also challenged Mr. Malami to substantiate his allegation that the EFCC had allocated or sold the property in question or any other property to him, “instead of engaging in a cheap campaign of blackmail.”
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