One Year Of Justice Reform: AGF Malami’s Scorecard At A Glance

In compliance with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that all ministers must come up with key performance indicators and submit reports on achievements of parastatals and agencies under their ministries, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, recently presented the scorecard and achievements of his ministry at a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by the president.

THE WHISTLER obtained the report presented to FEC by Malami, where the Attorney-General rolled out the justice sector reforms embarked upon by the Ministry of Justice under him as well as the achievements of the ministry in the last one year.

This website recalls that after appointing his second cabinet in July 2019, President Buhari had hosted the new and retained ministers to a ministerial retreat, where he told the appointees that each of them would be held to account for their accomplishments in office at the end of every 12 months.

Justice Sector Reforms

In the report, Malami touched on various reforms and achievements in the various parastatals and departments under his ministry, ranging from the Expansion of Copyright E-Registration System at the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), the Unification of the Criminal and Penal Code (CPC), Reforms of the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act, and the Reforms of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.

The AGF said the reforms include the implementation of the National Legal Aid Strategy Plan, 2017-2020, Full and Effective Implementation of the Legal Aid Act, 2011, Establishment of National Database of Legal Aid Providers, Establishment of ‘Access to Justice Fund’.

Others are the upgrading of the Regional Centre For International Commercial Arbitration (RCICAL) website and the upgrading and automation of RCICAL’s hearing rooms, finance and ICT departments.

N13bn Saved Through Meticulous Litigation

The Ministry of Justice, under Malami, saved the federal government over N13 billion through its handling of litigations.

The report showed that a total of 600 cases were handled across the various courts in the country, including the Court of Appeal and Supreme Courts (90), National Industrial Court (100), High Courts of States and the Federal Capital Territory (110), and the Federal High Court (400).

According to Malami, his ministry saved the government N1,765,015,000 from disposal of 50 cases at the Federal High Court, N181,986,046.51 from disposal of 20 cases at State High Courts, while also saving the federal government N950,000,000 at the ECOWAS Court.

Fight Against Corruption

The Attorney-General also took a retrospective assessment of the Buhari administration’s achievements in the area of the fight against corruption which, he said, received strong boost as a result of various legal instruments initiated under him by the justice ministry as well his contributions to the drafting of 10 Presidential Executive Orders between 2017 and 2019.

Malami revealed milestones achieved in the area of assets recovery to include $62 billion, being total arrears of recoveries from oil companies’ PSA, $311 million being Abacha loot III recovered from the United States and New Jersey, while noting that $200 million recovery from the $1 billion Malabu deal (OPL 245) was being expected from Netherland and Switzerland. He said these were being used by the federal government to fund the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Kano-Abuja Expressway and 2nd Niger Bridge projects.

The AGF said Whistle Blower recoveries paid into the federal government’s Asset Recovery account totaled N685,784,757.09, while N500 million from forfeited vessels, trucks, and barges were also paid into the asset recovery account.

Legal Instruments/Presidential Executive Orders

Malami said following legal instruments initiated under him contributed immensely to the Buhari administration’s fight against corruption: The Anti-Money Laundering Combating of Financing Terrorism (AML/CTF), Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 (FMOJ), Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Scheme (VOARS), and Standard Operating Procedure for Asset Disposal (FMOJ).

Others are: Final Forfeiture Order from the Federal High Court, Implementation of National Anti-Corruption Strategy (2017-2021), Establishment of National Criminal Justice Information System, Nigeria Sponsored Resolution on Strengthening Asset Recovery to Support 20230 Agenda for Sustainable Development in December 2019 Abu Dhabi.

Some of the legal instruments were backed up by presidential executive orders signed by President Buhari. Executive order number six governs the Preservation of Assets Connected with Corruption, while executive order eight relates to the Voluntary Offshore Assets Registration Scheme (VOARS), which is targeted at tracking and stopping illicit financial flows into and out of the country.

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