The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, on Tuesday denied having written a “strongly-worded letter” to President Muhammadu Buhari objecting to the payment of $16.9 million fees to two lawyers for the recovery of the funds looted by former Military Head of State, late General Sani Abacha.
Adeosun’s position was contained in a statement by her media aide, Oluyinka Akintunde.
The statement came as an aftermath of a story that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, was making efforts to pay two lawyers $16.9 million for the recovery of the loot from the Swiss Government, whereas the lawyer initially recruited for that purpose collected less than half of the amount and had concluded work on the project.
With Nigeria just waiting for the repatriation of the fund, Malami allegedly hired two lawyers when he came into office to complete the process and requested for a payment of $16.9 million for them.
Adeosun was said to have objected to this, allegedly writing President Buhari and members of the Federal Executive Council.
But Akintunde, who did not deny the existence of the move by Malami, added in the statement on Tuesday: “The Minister wishes to dissociate herself and the Federal Ministry of Finance from recent malicious and misleading media reports on the Abacha refunds. The Minister had at no time written any letter to the President or any member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the payment of lawyers for the Abacha recovery.
“She also refuted the flawed media reports of controversy surrounding the Abacha recovery, disclosing that the sum of US$322,515,931.83 was received into a Special Account in the Central Bank of Nigeria on December 18, 2017 from the Swiss Government.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no controversy concerning the recovery of the Abacha monies from the Swiss Government.”