Following the reappointment of Abubakar Malami as the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, experts in the nation’s financial markets have called on big companies operating in the country to brace up.
Ifeanyi Onyeka, a Lagos-based stockbroker said the reappointment of Malami does not send a good signal to the business community considering his baggage and reputation for disobeying court orders vis-à-vis threatening blue chip companies with sanctions.
“I do not expect anything different from what he has been doing in the last four years,” he said. “However, I expect him to come out with far-reaching reforms in the judiciary, and prison reforms.”
According to Onyeka, he expects Malami to file an appeal in respect of a recent judgment ordering the seizure of Nigerian assets worth $9 billion. “If you continue to send warning letters to some of these companies, you are sending a wrong signal to international investors,” he added.
Notable among high profile cases handled by the AGF in the last four years include the $2 billion MTN tax case against which is currently ongoing at a Federal High Court in Lagos. The telecoms giant said the tax payment demand is without merit, as it does not owe the money and the Attorney General exceeded his powers in making such request.
Malami had written letters to some blue-chip companies in which he demanded the repayment of billions of naira, purportedly due to the Federal Government as tax arrears.
In the last four years, Malami has disobeyed several court orders prominent among is the failure of the government to release the former, National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, despite court orders for his release.
Answering questions by senators during his screening exercise, Malami noted that the government disobeyed court orders in “national interest”.
Dasuki has been in detention since his arrest in 2015, despite the orders of local and international courts for his release. Dasuki is facing multiple trials for the alleged offences and has been granted bail by the same courts where all the charges against him were taken.
Despite meeting the various bail conditions, the Nigerian government has refused to release the former NSA boss.
OLUFIKAYO OWOEYE & OLUWASEGUN OLAKOYENIKAN