The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has justified the approval he gave to Omoh Jay Nig Ltd, a firm accused of stealing Crude Oil and Diesel, to auction seized vessels.
The AGF, in a statement that was signed by his media aide, Dr. Umar Gwandu, insisted that the firm had no pending criminal charge as at the time it was granted the contact through an open bid that held in 2019.
He said his attention was drawn to a “maliciously concocted publication in some media outfit”, alleging that the auction contract was given to a company that is purportedly standing trial in court for stealing crude oil and diesel.
Malami decried that the misleading reports were aimed at confusing the public and tarnishing his good image.
Narrating his side of the story, Malami stated that Omoh Jay Nig Ltd was granted the approval vide Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) letter DPR/DSM/ROM/OPS/COL 2/285 dated August 11, 2009, to evacuate the products onboard of MT AKUADA and MT HOPE.
He said: “That was four years before the coming of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and long before Malami was appointed as the Attorney General of the Federation.
“EFCC filed a motion dated 8th June 2009 but filed on 11th June 2009 in Suit No. FHC/B/130C/08 held at Court 1, ikpoba hill, Benin City before Hon. Justice Chukwura Nnamani praying for the following orders:
“An ORDER vesting custody of the vessel with contents on the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN);
“An ORDER forfeiting the vessel MT AKUADA used in conveying bunkered 12, 000 metric tonnes of crude oil seized to FRN; and
“An ORDER forfeiting the bunkered 12, 000 to FRN.
“NOTE: The Motion was struck out on 23rd October 2009.
“Also note that Omoh Jay Nig. Ltd filed Suit No FHC/L/CS/652/2018 against EFCC and 4 ors on 11th September 2018 at Lagos Judicial Division before Hon. Justice M.S Hassan praying for an ORDER directing the EFCC to unfreeze its account at Zenith Bank as it unlawfully and illegally connived to freeze the account without a valid court order.
“The EFCC did not file a Counter Affidavit or any written agreement.
“On 13th May 2019, Hon. Justice M.S Hassan granted the prayer of Omoh Jay Nig Ltd.
“The OHAGF confirms that following the president directive to clear territorial waters and highways of obsolete and unauthorized vessels, barges, ships, boats, trucks vehicles amongst others, it obtained Final Forfeiture Orders dated 16th January 2018 and 15th April 2019 from the Federal High Court on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria in Suit N0 FHC/ABJ/CS/741/2017, FHC/ABJ/CS/742/2017 and FHC/ABJ/CS/237/2019.
“Based on the advice of the Office of the National Security Adviser which is predicated upon the risk being posed by the drifting vessel MT ANUKET containing crude oil at Elegushi Beach and based on the expertise and experience of Omoh Jay Nigeria Limited in the disposal of the content of AKUADA and MT HOPE when engaged by the Department of Petroleum Resources dated 11th August 2009.
“The OHAGF engaged their vide letter dated 9th September 2019 to conduct an Open Bid Sale for the following vessels:
“MT ASTERIS with Crude Oil; MV PSV DERBY with Automated Gas Oil (AGO); MV ZAHRA with Automated Gas Oil (AGO); MT PEACE; and MT ANUKET EMERALD.
“The only involvement of Omoh Jay Nigeria Limited as far as the documents before the OHAGF is the baseless freezing of Omoh Jay Nigeria Limited account as a fall out in the case lost by the EFCC on MT AKUADA and MT HOPE and even at that, the Federal High Court, Lagos Division has struck out motion brought against Omoh Jay Nigeria Limited as stated above.