Legal Nigeria

State attorneys-general sue Malami over ‘failure to remit N1.8trn recovered funds to federation account’

State attorneys-general sue Malami over ‘failure to remit N1.8trn recovered funds to federation account’

by Bolanle Olabimtan 

Attorneys-general of the 36 states have sued Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), over the alleged failure of government to remit recovered funds into the federation account.

Amongst the reliefs being sought in the suit marked SC/cv/395/2021 and filed before the supreme court, the state attorneys-general are asking to court for “a declaration that by the provisions of Section 162(1) and Section 162(10) of the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), all income, returns, proceeds or receipts howsoever described derived from confiscated, forfeited and/or recovered assets constitute revenue of the federal republic of Nigeria, which must be remitted to federation account for the collective benefit of the federal, state and local governments.”

They also want the court to declare that “the failure and/or refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister of finance, the office of the AGF, and the accountant-general of the federation, and all other relevant authorities and/or agencies of the federation to remit the receipts, income, returns or proceeds derived from all assets recovered, seized, confiscated and forfeited into the federation account to be distributed in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution” is unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs also want the apex court to declare that “it is unconstitutional for the president, through the federal minister of finance, the AGF, or any other authority whatsoever, to utilise, apply, allocate, expend and appropriate same to itself or distribute same in any other manner howsoever without due allocation from the federation account”.

In the affidavits supporting the originating summons, the plaintiffs alleged that “between 2015 till date, the FRN has secured both international and municipal forfeiture, recovery and repatriation of “stolen assets” in the sum of NI,836,906,543,658.73, about 167 properties, 450 Cars, 300 Trucks and cargoes, and 20,000,000 barrels of crude oil worth over N450million”, but have failed to remit to the federation account as required by the constitution.

They also submitted that the establishment of the “asset tracing, recovery and management regulation 2019” done by the president through the AGF, contradicts the provisions of the constitution, and that the AGF acted beyond his constitutional powers.

Consequently, they prayed the court for an order directing the president, finance minister, accountant-general of the federation, and all other relevant authorities “to give account of all the receipts, income, returns or proceeds derived from all assets recovered, seized, confiscated and/or forfeited to the federal republic of Nigeria in the sum of N1,836,906,543,658.73 (cash) and N450,000,000,000.00 (non-cash)”.

“An order directing the earlier mentioned persons to reconcile accounts of all the receipts, income, returns or proceeds derived from all assets recovered, seized, confiscated and forfeited to the federal republic of Nigeria in the sum of N1,836,906,543,658.73 (Cash) and N450,000,000,000.00 (Non-cash), and remit same forthwith into the federation account,” the document reads.

“An order directing the president, the minister of finance, the Office of the AGF, the accountant-general of the federation and the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, to determine forthwith, the modalities for distributing the receipts from seized, forfeited and recovered assets among the federal, state and local government from the federation account.

“An order directing that any sum due to the federal government from the federation account should be set off against and to the full extent of any component of the receipts, income, return or proceeds derived from all assets recovered, seized, confiscated, and/or forfeited to the federal republic of Nigeria in the sum of N1,836,906,543,658.73 (Cash) and N450,000,000,000.00 (Non-cash), which has been utilised, applied and/or expended by the federal government without due allocation/distribution.”

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