By Wandoo Sombo
The outgoing Attorney-General of the Federation,Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, said the Ministry of Justice has recovered 779.5 million dollars and N59.2 billion stolen from the country.
Malami said this on Tuesday in Abuja, while handing over to the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Dayo Apata.
The minister also said that inline with relevant provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the ministry had reached an advanced stage in efforts to ensure the forfeiture of cash and property worth billions to the Federal Government.
“To this end, a memo is awaiting the approval of the president to finalise negotiations with politically exposed persons who have been indicted and charged for various corruption related offences.
The minister also said that the ministry, as part of efforts to expedite action on corruption related cases during his tenure, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) designated special courts to prioritise corruption and financial crime related cases.
“Towards this end, the CJN has constituted an implementation committee to drive its implementing with its membership drawn from his office, the presidency, the ministry of Justice and the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption,” he said.
He said the committee had been directed to liaise with heads of the concerned courts to ensure that the selected courts were designated appropriately and were provided with adequate human and material resources.
The minister also enumerated several other achievements that the ministry had recorded while he held sway to include increasing international engagement to ensure that stolen assets stashed abroad were recovered and returned to the country.
He also that staff welfare in the ministry had improved under his watch and that staff had been motivated through capacity building as well as ensuring that a staff of the ministry was conferred with Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
The minister thereafter, signed the handover notes and passed the baton to Apata, who is also the Solicitor-General, pending the appointment of a new minister.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that earlier, the minster inaugurated chairmen and members of boards of some agencies under the ministry , including Nigeria Copyright Commission, Council of Legal Education, Nigeria Law School and Legal Aid Council.
Others are the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.
Some of the dignitaries who witnessed the occasion were three past Attorneys-General of the Federation, Mr Bayo Ojo, Mr Michael Aonodoakaa and Mr Adetokunbo Kayode.
Others were former Solicitors-General as well as heads of parastatals and agencies under the ministry of Justice.