Reps Grill Malami Over $2.4bn Illegal Oil Sale

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), is currently being questioned by the House of Representatives regarding the alleged unlawful sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil in China, with a value exceeding $2.4 billion.

Accompanied by Beatrice Jedy-Agba, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice/Solicitor-General of the Federation, Malami is appearing before the Ad Hoc Committee of the House tasked with investigating the reported loss of revenue amounting to over $2.4 billion from the illicit sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil exported in 2015. The investigation covers all crude oil exports and sales by Nigeria from 2014 to the present.

While the Ministry of Justice submitted a written statement to the committee, Malami reiterated his previous stance on the allegations and the ongoing probe. He requested the lawmakers to provide him with any relevant documents and facts at their disposal to assist in facilitating the investigation.

This marks the second appearance of Malami and Jedy-Agba before the committee since the commencement of the inquiry.

During his initial appearance on April 27, 2023, the minister informed the lawmakers that the claim of an illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil to China, valued at over $2.4 billion, was unfounded.

Malami stated, “Mr Chairman, let me state on record and for the benefit of Nigerians and the committee, that the allegations relating to the 48 million barrels are baseless. The allegation is unfounded. It is lacking in merit, and indeed lacking in substance. It is in its own right – the allegation – devoid of any reasonable ground pointing to a material suspicion that is cogent enough to invoke the constitutional oversight of the committee.

“Why do I say so? Sometimes in 2016, allegations were rife and hyped on social media. There were allegations of the existence of stolen 48 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil in China, said to have been valued at $2.4bn. President Muhammadu Buhari informally requested the Attorney-General – making reference to my humble person; (the then Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) Mele Kyari; former Director-General, Department of State Services, Lawal Daura; and the late Abba Kyari (the then Chief of Staff to the President) to look into it and advise.

“But unfortunately, Mr Chairman, for there to be a reasonable ground for suspicion, at least you require certain basic facts. If you are talking about a product, you cannot establish the substance relating thereto without confirming the origin of the purported product in China. If you talk of a product in China, is it of Nigerian origin? That can be established by way of samples and specifications. Is it Bonny Light which you know apparently emanates from Nigeria? The basic detail of the existence of the product and connecting it to Nigeria was not there at all.”

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