The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has denied media reports that she wrote a ‘strongly-worded letter to the President’ objecting to the payment of $16.5 million fees to two lawyers for the recovery of Abacha loots.
The denial is contained in a statement issued by the ministry and signed by her special adviser on media and communications, Oluyinka Akintunde.
Recall that there was a report indicating that the Minister had earlier blocked the payment on the basis that the Federal Government had paid in full for the services rendered by an international agent.
However, Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, was reported to have curiously engaged the services of another set of lawyers in 2016 for a fee of about N6 billion — despite full payment having been made to Enrico Monfrini, the Swiss lawyer that handled the recovery.
According to highly placed sources within the ministry who craved for anonymity, the minister is under intense pressure to recant her earlier stands by some powerful figures in the presidency.
National Daily had confirmed that the recovered $321 million Abacha loot had been repatriated to Nigeria by the Swiss government following the execution of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries for the judicious use of the recovery.
In the statement issued on Tuesday, Adeosun dissociated herself and the Federal Ministry of Finance from the report, claiming she 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,” she said.