Non-passage of anti-corruption bills worries Buhari, says AGF
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Tuesday, said President Muhammadu Buhari was not comfortable with the fact that some bills that would assist his administration’s ongoing anti-corruption fight were still pending before the National Assembly.
He also confirmed that the Senator Ken Nnamani-led Electoral Reform Committee submitted its report to him earlier in the day.
Malami spoke with State House correspondents shortly after meeting behind closed doors with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The minister described his meeting with the President as a routine briefing that centred around general issues, especially the anti-corruption fight and the report of the committee.
He said, “It (the meeting with the President) was a routine briefing of the President as it relates to general issues; the issues that have to do with anti-corruption.
“Mr President is worried that anti-corruption bills are pending before the National Assembly overtime, there has not been any expeditious determination on the passage of the bills.
“Embedded in the Proceeds of Crime Bill is the Asset Management Agency which is the agency put in place by the Presidency for the purpose of the management of the associated assets that are recovered.
“So, Mr President is, indeed, worried and the discussions bothered on how best we can handle it.”
The minister said some issues relating to the parastatals under his ministry also came up during the discussion with the President.
He said he sought to know from the President the next step to be taken on the report of the Electoral Reform Committee submitted to him.
“As you are aware, this afternoon, the Electoral Reform Committee that has been put in place has submitted its report to my office.
“I equally briefed Mr President on that and in addition to the report, there are bills that have been presented for the consideration of the Federal Executive Council as they relate to amendments to the electoral process.
“The whole essence of the meeting was to seek the view of Mr President and the direction as to what to do next in relation to the Electoral Reform Committee report that has been submitted and to consider routine processes under the Ministry of Justice,” he said.
Malami also gave an indication that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo may submit the report of the committee set up by Buhari to investigate the suspended Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke; and the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, to the President on Wednesday.
The committee chaired by Osinbajo has Malami and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, as members.
It was set up penultimate Wednesday with a mandate to submit its report within 14 days.
Malami said he would not answer questions on the committee’s work since it was billed to submit its report on Wednesday and that it was the duty of the Vice-President to present its submission to the President.
He said, “You know that the presidential committee that is investigating the NIA DG and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is supposed to make a submission by tomorrow (Wednesday).
“So, it is pre-emptive now to discuss anything considering the fact that one, the committee is under the chairmanship of the Vice-President, who is supposed to brief the President in that respect and two, the schedule for the committee’s assignment has not elapsed.
“So, it will be pre-emptive to speak about the committee because the time fixed for the assignment has not elapsed and against the backdrop of the fact that it is the chairman of the committee that should brief the President.”Punch