Perhaps jittery that he may be fired after SaharaReporters in a series of detailed investigative stories exposed his corruption-fuelled lifestyle, Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has written a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, listing his assets he declared with the Code of Conduct Bureau before taking up his present appointment in 2015.
In the letter to Buhari, Malami claimed that he was not corrupt as alleged in the reports, adding that he had never taken a penny from public funds till date.
The AGF informed President Buhari that he was already a wealthy man with several thriving businesses before he came into government five years ago.
The letter reads, “Your Excellency, since my appointment as a minister in your cabinet, I have conducted myself strictly within the confines of the Code of Conduct for public officers contained in Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria, as amended.
“It is to be noted that apart from my successful legal practice of more than 20 years, seven of which were as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria before my appointment, I have as allowed by law had interests in business ventures, all of which I had resigned from active participation upon my appointment.
“Among other things, I owned lucrative business ventures of Rayhaan Hotels and Rayhaan Food & Drinks, both in Kano, since December 13, 2013, years before the 2015 election that saw to the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari as the President and long before I was appointed to be a minister in the first term.
“That informs why those items were included among 27 property listed in the Code of Conduct Bureau form filled by me when I was first appointed a minister.
“Your Excellency is invited to also note that while the Code of Conduct for public officers prohibits my active participation in the running of my already established ventures, it does not preclude me from gaining the fruit of my establishments. Hence, earnings from mainly the hotels, restaurants, farms are used to either improve these ventures or to expand and build new ones. In all these, the requirement of the law is that I declare at the point of exit from office as I have declared at the point of entry.
“On assumption of office in 2015, I had course as a constitutional requirement to file my assets declaration form at the point of assuming duty as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria detailing my assets which include: my houses (both residential and others) farmlands, hotel, school and other enterprises.
“Statements of accounts from all my banks were also submitted to the Code of Conduct which were duly verified as is the procedure after submission is made.”
But despite his claim of ‘sainthood’, Malami failed to disclose the value of his 27 properties at the time of acquisition and what they are worth now.
The AGF did not also mention a N3bn event centre and N2bn private school in Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State, said to be popular among the high and mighty in that part of the country.
This is in addition to private jets, hotels and three homes in Abuja recently acquired by him that he failed to mention in his letter to President Buhari.
Malami also dished out untruth when he claimed that he had sued SaharaReporters over all the reports the online news medium published recently on his illicit amassing of wealth.
He had tried to use a non-profit organisation to press charges against SaharaReporters but that never saw the light of day.
Recall that in a series of text and photo stories, SaharaReporters had exposed how Malami, who was a little known lawyer before being appointed into the government of President Buhari in 2015, had maintained an opulent lifestyle fuelled by public funds despite displaying a saintly posture before the public.
Apart from purchasing a N300m mansion in Abuja and erecting another N100m property in Kebbi State for his newly married son, Abdulaziz, Malami broke the bank to hire several private jets to fly in family members and important guests to the lavish ceremony, which took place inside the Kano State Government House.
One of the legs of the ‘multi-layered’ wedding ceremony saw wads of naira and United States dollars being sprayed on Abdulaziz and his bride, Khadija Danbatta, thereby violating the Central Bank of Nigeria’s rule, which forbids the country’s currency from being sprayed or abused in any form in public.
In other exposes, SaharaReporters revealed how Malami’s sons drive around in multi-million naira luxury cars and how his first wife in 2019 bought a property worth N33m in Kebbi State.
PHOTONEWS: AGF Malamiâs Son Built This Multimillion Naira Arena And Bought A $200k Mercedes Benz Coupe With Vanity Plates âAZBIRâ— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) July 12, 2020
That arena is said to be worth more than a billion naira.
SEE MORE PHOTOS: https://t.co/Rf4x9LleP6 pic.twitter.com/P1FwMgWO14
These revelations are on top of several discoveries of sudden wealth and property acquisition by Malami and his family members.
According to some observers of events, Malami’s letter to the President and his failure to mention his illicitly acquired riches speak volumes of the hypocrisy of the Buhari’s administration that continue to close its eyes to corruption within government circles.