FG Recovers N769bn Looted Funds, Buhari Promises Radical Change

President Muhammadu Buhari has given the assurance that proceeds of recovered loot funds will be used optimally to address the economic and social problems, even as it came to light that about N769 billion have been recovered since 2015.

Buhari will speaking at the official submission of the report of a three-man presidential committee set up to audit recovered funds at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday, promised to block all loopholes for stealing public funds.

According to the president, the assets recovery committee was set up in November 2017, as a result of gaps identified in the asset recovery process and in order to foster greater accountability and transparency.

“We must utilize proceeds of our recoveries optimally to address our economic and social problems, and loopholes for stealing public funds must be blocked.

“To this end, let me assure Nigerians that the findings and recommendations of the Committee would be carefully examined and given due consideration with a view to implementing the recommendations. Our asset recovery and management system will in future be transparently, effectively and efficiently managed, and we will set-out a fresh template of public accountability in the country.

“However, a key tool that will revolutionize our asset recovery and management architecture is the Proceeds of Crimes Bill which is currently awaiting passage by the National Assembly.

“Once the Bill is passed and assented, many of the challenges facing our asset recovery and management practice will be adequately taken care of as the Bill addresses most of the challenges facing effective asset recovery and management in Nigeria. I therefore encourage the National Assembly to take necessary steps to pass the Bill,” he said.

The president assured Nigerians that his administration shall continue to keep faith with the promise, and stay committed until Nigeria triumphs over the evil of corruption, attain a prosperous economic status and surmounts all the country’s security challenges.

Speaking earlier, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, while giving a breakdown of assets recovered so far, disclosed that about N769billion has been recovered from looters.

He listed the funds recovered to include: “The federal government recovered N13.8 billion from tax evaders in May 2018.

“In May 2018 government paid N439.2 million to about 14 whistle blowers who gave specific information on tax evasion.

“Again N3.8million, $378 million, £27,800 were equally recovered from public officials.

“In summary the recovered funds by the three man committee is N769billion cash were recovered within the period under review.”

In his report, chairman of the committee, Femi Lijadu, said the report is in five volumes, with Volume I being the Main Report which contains the committee’s findings and recommendations.

“Volume II contains the detailed schedule of cash recoveries; Volume III contains detailed schedule of non-cash recoveries; Volume IV contains correspondence with auditees, and Volume V contains presentations and memoranda from auditees and professional organizations.”

He said the agencies covered by the audit are, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Pension Transitional Arrangement Department (PTAD), Federal Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Office of the National Security Adviser and the Department of DSS.

Lijadu expressed the hope that the findings of the committee and recommendations will assist the government’s efforts to ensure that all assets are accounted for and managed in an accurate, transparent and logical manner.

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