Sunday Ode, Abuja
The Federal Government has so far recovered N769 billion of the country’s looted fund in three years.The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami disclosed this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja during the submission of the audit report to President Muhammadu Buhari by the committee set up to audit assets recovered by government agencies.
The committee was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in November last year with a mandate to submit its findings in four weeks.The committee, which had Olufemi Lijadu, Gloria Bibigha and Mohammed Nami as members, was expected to audit all recoveries from the beginning of this administration until April 10, 2017.In his remarks yesterday after submitting the report to the president ,Malami said:The federal government recovered N13.8billion from tax evaders in May 2018.
“In May 2018 government paid N439.2million to about 14 whistle blowers who gave specific information on tax evasion.”Again N3.8million, $378million US dollars 27,800 pounds was equally recovered from public officials.”In summary the recovered funds by the three man committee is N769billion naira cash were recovered within the period under review.
In his remarks after receiving the report, President Buhari said as a result of gaps identified in the asset recovery process and in order to foster greater accountability and transparency when he inaugurated the committee emphasized the resolve of this administration to pursue a strong anti-corruption policy and to trace and recover stolen assets using all legal and diplomatic resources at our disposal.
According to him, he also directed the agencies involved to submit detailed reports of all their recovered assets by March 2017.He said corruption constitutes a threat to the well-being, national security, and economy of Nigeria.He restated that his administration will not allow the wanton diversion and embezzlement of public funds into private pockets even as noted that they intend to continue taking all necessary measures to deprive looters of public assets of the fruits of their crimes.
He explained that it is in keeping with the Anti-corruption Policy of this Government, and in line with global best practices that this Committee was set-up to review our asset recovery and management practices in order to evolve a proper management, transparency and accountability culture in the management of recovered assets.
He stated ” Given our history of impunity, much of Nigeria’s wealth has historically been squandered or stolen; leaving us with inadequate infrastructure for our growing population and economy. Asset Recovery is thus one of the essential tools for fighting corruption and we must therefore take issues of managing such recovered assets very seriously.
” 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, President Buhari assured Nigerians that the findings and recommendations of the Committee would be carefully examined and given due consideration with a view to implementing the recommendations.
He promised that the government’sasset recovery and management system will in future be transparently, effectively and efficiently managed, and they will set-out a fresh template of public accountability in the country. He , however, added that a key tool that will revolutionize the administration asset recovery and management architecture is the Proceeds of Crimes Bill which is currently awaiting passage by the National Assembly.
According to him , once the Bill is passed and assented, many of the challenges facing the country’s 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.” Let me once again assure Nigerians that this administration shall continue to keep faith with our promise, and shall remain committed until Nigeria triumphs over the evil of corruption, attain a prosperous economic status and surmounts all her security challenges,” he stated.
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