The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has revealed that there are ongoing plea bargains with some politically-exposed persons who have been indicted and charged with various corruption-related offences.
The PUNCH, on Sunday, perused a Federal Ministry of Justice’s report presented by the AGF, stating that the ongoing negotiations were aimed at recovering “cash and properties worth billions of naira to the coffers of the Federal Government.”
The minister said the negotiations had reached an advanced stage.
Malami added that the finalisation of the plea bargains was awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval.
This is contained in a report titled, ‘A Presentation on Specific Activities for Transforming the Administration of Justice and State Legal Affairs: Three-Year Activity Review of the Federal Ministry of Justice (2015 – 2018)’.
The 50-page review which contains reports from the various departments of the Federal Ministry of Justice was “presented” by the AGF.
It was signed by the minister in April but was distributed at one of the ministry’s events last week.
The report disclosed that negotiations with politically exposed persons were ongoing as part of the ministry’s anti-corruption activities which were captured under a subtitle, “Key intervention areas”.
The report did not name the politically-exposed persons the government was negotiating with but it stated that the persons were already facing prosecution.
It said a memo had been sent to Buhari for his approval to finalise the negotiations, although it did not state when the memo was sent.
The report did not give any timeline concerning the said ongoing negotiations but said it was being done in line with the relevant provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
The report stated, “In line with relevant provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the ministry has reached an advanced stage in efforts to ensure the forfeiture of cash and properties worth billions of naira to the coffers of the Federal Government.
“To this end, a memo is awaiting the approval of the President to finalise negotiations with politically exposed persons, who have been indicted and charged for various corruption-related offences”.
In his foreword to the review, Malami said anti-corruption was one of the three Buhari’s administration’s core areas of delivery, the two others being security and economic growth.
He stated that the ministry’s vision under his watch “is to provide a system of justice that is simpler, cheaper, more efficient, more effective and more responsive to people’s needs”.
He added, “In order to do this, we have identified five key result areas for transformation. These are an integrated, efficient Federal Ministry of Justice; fair and equal access to justice for all, taking into account the diversity of people’s needs; effective and efficient provision of legal services to the Federal Government; constructive engagement and partnerships with state ministries of justice; and zero tolerance for corruption.”