Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, on Wednesday revealed that judgement debts incurred by the Federal Government have risen to a whooping N150billion.
“The Ministry of Justice was mandated to take inventory and explore avenues for the payment of judgment debts which have become problematic,” Malami told the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters.
According to Malami, the huge debts accumulated because of the Ministry of Justice inability to pay for services due to irregular funding.
“This has arisen because it was only in 2017 that the sum of N10bn was disbursed for the payment of judgment debts as appropriated.
“As it stands, the sum of over N150bn remains unpaid, prompting beneficiaries of this sum to keep mounting pressures on the ministry.
“Distinguished members of this committee are hereby respectively requested to intervene on this long standing vex issue by appropriating the sum of N30bn annually to mitigate this challenge.”
“May I humbly disclose that we are progressively making vital recovery of our looted funds stashed abroad.
“However, let me affirm that the legal procedural requirements for these recoveries are altogether taxing and cumbersome.
“Besides, most times we have to engage the services of well-grounded lawyers and consultants to effect recovery which were promptly deposited at Federal Government treasury.
“To smoothen our operations in this regard, it was deemed expedient to establish asset recovery unit in my office.
“So far, their efforts are quite salutary even in the face of zero requisite commission from recovery.
“I would like to reiterate my earlier request to the effect that about 2.5 per cent of recovered looted money should be earmarked to the asset recovery unit to service logistics, operational cost, payment to private lawyers and consultants.”
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.