The Federal Ministry of Justice, in 2016 alone, paid N213m to offset part of the judgment debts it had incurred over the years.
The N213m was paid to 13 judgment creditors, leaving an outstanding N50m out of the total judgment debts the ministry had planned to pay in 2016.
The judgment debts are the debts incurred through court judgments which went against the ministry.
The figures were revealed in one of the account documents presented to members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters during their oversight to the ministry in January.
The document was obtained from a member of the committee by our correspondent on Sunday.
It revealed that the total sum of N212,944,032 was paid to 13 judgment creditors in 2016.
Most of the creditors received the payments ranging from N3.9m to N29.5m through the lawyers’ firm.
Meanwhile, in his speech during the visit by the senators, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), indicated that the N263,171,903 judgment debt was captured in the ministry’s budget for 2016.
With the payment of N212,944,032, the ministry has an outstanding N50,227,871 judgment debt still not paid.
The minister was recently quoted as recently telling members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters that he might need to hold an emergency executive meeting with the senators to enhance the settlement of the outstanding judgment debts.
The Special Adviser to the AGF on Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Isah, said in a statement that Malami, while appearing before the senators for budget defence on February 23, had expressed concern over the payment of outstanding judgment debts of the ministry.
“In his response to Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta West, on payment of outstanding judgment debts, Malami explained that he was conscious and perturbed, adding that concerted efforts are ongoing to offset the outstanding and probably abate future debts,” Isah said.
The minister’s spokesperson quoted his boss as saying, “I have a cause to sign a letter sent to the Budget Office this morning before leaving my office to attend to this national calling and constitutional responsibility. If the desired response was not got from the Budget Office between now and Monday next week, I will fall back on the committee for emergency executive meeting on the way out of the judgment debts outstanding.”
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