Malami Faces Probe Over Five Suspicious Mega Deals Under His Watch

Malami Faces Probe Over Five Suspicious Mega Deals Under His Watch

Abubakar Malami, former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), will be questioned over at least five suspicious transactions during his time in office, TheCable understands.

Five of the transactions under investigation, TheCable learnt, are:

The mysterious payment of $496 million to Global Steel Holdings Ltd (GSHL) as settlement for the termination of the Ajaokuta Steel concession nine years after the Indian company had waved all claims for compensation. 

His handling of the sale of assets worth billions of naira forfeited to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by politically exposed persons. 

His role in the $419 million judgment debt awarded to consultants who claimed to have facilitated the Paris Club refunds to the states. 

The strange agreement to pay Sunrise Power $200 million compensation in its dispute with the federal government over the Mambilla power project

The duplicated legal fees in the transfer of $321 million Abacha loot from Switzerland to Nigeria.

TheCable understands that his name has cropped up in a number of questionable deals under the last administration.

A security agency will handle his interrogation, sources said.

Malami agreed to $496 million compensation to Global Steel over Ajaokuta steel plant despite the company having withdrawn claims for compensation in 2013. 

In September 2022, Malami announced that the federal government had finally resolved the “long-standing contractual dispute” with Global Steel over the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL) and the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO), Itakpe, concessions. He said instead of paying the original claim of $5.258 billion by GSHL over the termination of the concessions by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, Nigeria had secured a 91 percent reduction and would pay $496 million only.

In 2013, Smart Adeyemi, then senator from Kogi state, had said the Goodluck Jonathan administration — which was in power at the time — had recovered the Ajaokuta mill “without any attendant financial obligation whatsoever”.

Malami’s settlement also came five years after Kayode Fayemi, then minister of mines and steel development, announced that Nigeria had resolved all the issues around Ajaokuta and recovered ownership.

Global Steel had entered the Nigerian steel industry in 2004 after securing five major concessions and entering share purchase agreements by the Obasanjo administration. Things went sour when the new administration of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua came to power.

The government, in June 2008, revoked Global Steel’s 10-year Ajaokuta concession on the ground that the company was involved in asset stripping. It also terminated Global Steel’s concession for NIOMCO. This prompted Global Steel to opt for arbitration against Nigeria.

In 2010, a committee headed by Abdullahi Yola, then solicitor-general of the federation, recommended that the Jonathan administration should pay a compensation of $525 million to Global Steel for the revocations. Jonathan opted for mediation, with the Indian-owned company agreeing to mediation reportedly after its “underbelly” was exposed.

It was alleged that Global Steel had violated the terms of the concessions by not bringing in any foreign investment but rather leveraging on the assets of the companies to raise loans from Nigerian banks. It was also alleged that Global Steel had engaged in asset stripping — that is, selling the assets without regard for the company’s fortune. The company was accused of tax evasion and its promoters were to be prosecuted in a Nigerian court.

About the author

Abiodun Adisa is the CEO of Applaud Multimedia Services Publisher of Applaud News Magazine and Online @www.applaudnews.com.ng

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