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Abacha Loot: Despite outcry, FG secretly pays Malami’s lawyers ‘dubious’ $15m fees | TheCable
Oladipo Okpeseyi and Temitope Adebayo, two #Nigerian lawyers hired for the return of $321 million #Abachaloot from #Switzerland, have been secretly paid their controversial fees, TheCable can report. via @thecableng
TheCable had sent a freedom of information (FOI) request to Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), requesting for the various agreements that were signed with the Abacha family, the Swiss lawyer and the Nigerian solicitors by his office.
Instead of responding, Malami filed a libel suit against the newspaper.… via @thecableng
The federal government had engaged the services of Enrico Monfrini, a Swiss lawyer, in 1999 to help trace, identify, freeze and recover all looted funds traced to Sani Abacha, Nigeria’s military ruler from 1993 to 1998.… via @thecableng
After seven years of work, including investigations and litigation across various countries, Monfrini had traced and recovered $321 million from #Luxemborg banks. | TheCable
#Monfrini and other lawyers involved had also been paid their fees, with the Swiss getting about $12 million. via @thecableng
However, @AbubakMalamiSAN, rather than write directly to the Swiss authorities to seek the transfer of the funds to #Nigeria, engaged Okpeseyi and Adebayo for the purpose. via @thecableng
They have now been paid $15 million as “professional fees” for writing the letter — more than the Swiss lawyer who traced and recovered the funds over a period of seven years. via @thecableng
Okpeseyi and Adebayo were both members of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the party founded by Buhari to contest in the 2011 presidential election. Malami was the legal adviser to the party. via @thecableng
In a series of interviews with TheCable, Monfrini had maintained that the engagement of new lawyers was needless as he already completed the recovery job and all that was left was for Malami was to “write a letter to the Geneva attorney-general...
...or the government of Switzerland requesting the money to be paid back to Nigeria.” via @thecableng
Describing the payment as “height of injustice,” the house of representatives, in April, 2018 also set up an ad-hoc committee to carry out “forensic investigation” on the issue to unravel the circumstances surrounding the controversial deal.
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