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Malami breaks silence on approving auctioning of seized oil vessels

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has insisted that the approval given to some operators in the oil industry to sell five vessels containing crude oil and diesel forfeited to the Federal Government, was legal.

This was contained in a statement signed by Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Umar Gwandu, on Sunday.

He was reacting to reports that the AGF directed Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd to dispose of the crude oil and diesel through an open bid.

Malami is also alleged to have given the firm permission to sell five vessels despite the fact its Managing Director, Jerome Itepu, stood trial at the Delta State High Court in Asaba, for allegedly stealing about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil, which was valued at N384m in 2009.

The auctioneer was to get 3% of the sale.

Malami has now denied any wrongdoing.

“Assuming, without conceding that Omo-Jay is being tried for criminal offence, if indeed any, does that take away the Constitutional presumption of innocence in their eligibility to apply and be considered for auction?” the statement read in part.

He added, “If the allegation is that of breach of process and procedures of disposal of assets, Sahara Reporters need to clearly state which processes and procedures were breached.”

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