The Disciplinary Panel of the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee on Thursday dismissed one of the two petitions against the immediate-past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
It was learnt the petition by Obi Johnson of Interstellar Communications Ltd was dismissed by the panel due to the lack of diligent prosecution. The petitioner reportedly failed to send a representative, either a lawyer or an official of the company, to the Thursday’s proceedings.
Malami attended the proceedings and was also represented by his team of lawyers led by Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN).
The LPPC is the body that confers the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria on lawyers and has the power to withdraw the rank from any lawyer on the grounds of ethical breaches.
With the Thursday’s development, the petition filed before the LPPC by the family of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), is the remaining one against Malami before the LPPC.
The petition by the Dasuki’s has been slated for hearing on Friday (today). The Dasuki family had submitted their petition to the LPPC and other bodies requesting that disciplinary action be taken against Malami for allegedly endorsing Dasuki’s continued detention.
The family’s petition followed Malami’s last year media comment suggesting that Dasuki, despite meeting the latest bail granted him by the Federal High Court in Abuja on July 2, 2018, would not be released from the custody of the Department of State Services on the grounds of national security.
In the petition by Intersellar, which was dismissed by the panel on Thursday, the petitioner had accused Malami, as the AGF, of not doing enough to ensure the payment of its proceeds of a judgment of the Supreme Court it obtained.
The LPPC’s panel was headed by the Chief Judge of Osun State, Justice Adepele Ojo, on Thursday.
Malami had in his defence filed against the petition claimed the petitioner had been paid N3bn as a result of his intervention in the case.
A document by the ex-AGF sighted read, “The petitioner admitted, rather ignorantly, that the service of the order of the Supreme Court on the office of the HAGF was merely out of courtesy and nothing more.
“The damage done by the said admission to the case of the petition is that the petitioner could not have been reasonable in accusing an office that he admitted not to be really significant of frustrating the payment of its judgment debt.
“The payment (and acceptance) of N3bn by the petitioner as a result of the intervention of the Office of the HAGF is a documentary evidence of the sincerity of the OHAGF to ensure that the petitioner is paid contrary to the jaundiced perception and reckless allegations of the petitioner. It is an evidence to show that the OHAGF wants the debt paid.”
He also noted that the petitioner was “grossly abusive,” adding that the petition itself constituted “an attack on the persons and offices of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and the Solicitor-General of the Federation/Permanent Secretary, the Federal Ministry of Justice”.
Urging the panel to dismiss the petition, Malami stated, “With the copies of the HAGF’s letters to the President, Vice-President and Chief of Staff, an objective and unbiased panel of well-intentioned people will certainly know that the HAGF has done what a diligent public officer should do in the circumstance. In fact, the HAGF could not have done more that he had done.”