$69bn Loot: Late NSA Azzazi pops up with $9bn in Texas bank, as Malami’s role exposed

May 30, 2021
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As usual, the federal government has started threatening to name names following the revelation that Justice Minister/AGF Abubakar Malami is obstructing efforts to recover $69bn salted away in various bank in Texas, US.

But the information is not new as the American investigator that raised the alarm did so in 2019, with a memo to the federal government, promising quick recovery based on terms of contracts.

The assets recovery firm, Forensic Assets Investigation and Recovery Services LLC, discovered the $69bn loot perpetrated by the NNPC officials and those of the CBN under former President Goodluck Jonathan.

FAIR, founded by lawyer Gary Riebschlager, boasts of investigators, forensic accountants, bankers, and cyber experts.

They use Mutual Legal Agreements and the Global Financial Intelligence Units, Camden Assets Recovery Inter-Agency Network, Global Focus Point Network in Asset Recovery (Interpol), and the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative of the World Bank.

In its 2019 memo to President Muhammadu Buhari, through the Special Presidential Investigative Panel, FAIR claimed it had traced $9bn of the $69bn to the late NSA Gen. Andrew Azzazi who died in an air-crash at Nembe, Bayelsa, in 2012.

A member of the panel who stood before a House committee on recovered loot management to the House Malami had been frustrating effort to recover the money.

The House committee chairman Hon. Adejoro Adeogun nearly dismissed his claim for lack of evidence—until the media escalated it, and more facts came up.

Malami, however, denied the obstruction allegation, saying his office doesn’t act on media sensation.

“The integrity test of information is not media-based but a process being conducted through the laid-down official process in compliance with the extant laws,” said his media aide Umar Gwandu.

“The Office of the Attorney General has established a historical record of acting on cogent and verifiable information that has led to the recoveries of looted assets upon valid revelations that are subjected to integrity test by the assets recovery units of the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.”

SPIP, in its response and memo to Buhari when FAIR came forward with its finding, indicated there was overwhelming evidence the investigators already gathered.

“Mr President, we intend to work together with the Americans in order to secure the recovery of the definite $9bn within 3-5 months they stated and to engage them to see and recover the larger part of the estimated $60bn-$80bn stolen from Nigeria during the oil boom,” wrote SPIP-then chairman Okoi Obono-Obla.

Obono-Obla was removed by Malami later.

Most of the corruption allegations ever levelled against Malami –by the EFCC, SPIP, and anti-corruption NGO, home and abroad—have always been about obstruction.

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