Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, has explained that the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has not requested financial information on public officers from any institution, noting that the agency does not need the approval of any third party institution to carry out investigations on any account.
The minister was fielding questions from journalists in Abuja on Sunday and noted that the purported investigation of accounts of lawmakers and legal officers was false.
A communication, purportedly from the NFIU, was said to have requested financial institutions to furnish it with accounts of the public officials, but the minister dismissed the report as untrue.
Rather than seek a third party collaboration, the minister said the NFIU was legally empowered, as custodian of all financial information domiciled in various institutions, to make use of information at its disposal without any recourse to a third party.
“As to whether lawmakers, judicial officers are under investigation by NFIU, arising from a purported document that was said to have leaked out, one thing I want to categorically make clear is the fact that NFIU, by their competencies and capacities, are well placed to have information relating to accounts of individuals, institutions without any recourse to a third party,” he stated.
He added: “So, in effect, the idea of making a formal claim does not even arise because they are the custodian of the information and they are very well placed to analyze and have forensic analysis of the information at their disposal.
“But then I’m comforted further to state that the NFIU has indeed issued a formal statement to the effect that there was nothing of that nature; that there was no investigation, no cause for investigation as it is.
“And even if, indeed, there exists such cause, there could have been no basis for a formal request from institutions, because the NFIU is an institution that is legally, logically, and inherently vested with the capacities, competencies, and legal powers to have the information at its disposal.
“So, the information that it has made a request to institutions does not even arise because it is the legal custodian of all (financial) information.
“It is supposed to be the one passing out investigation and forensic analysis of the accounts where the need for so doing arises.”