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Sagay: Buhari Has Recovered Over ₦1 Trillion Stolen Funds

The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) yesterday put the total amount of stolen assets recovered by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration since 2015 at over N1trn.

Briefing journalists in Lagos yesterday, the Chairman of PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay, who reeled out the achievements of the committee said the federal government had been deploying some part of the recovered funds towards financing the annual budget, especially its social intervention scheme.

Sagay, who said the fight against corruption in the country had come a long way, describing it as both sweet and sour, stressed that a lot of work still needed to be done to rid Nigeria of corruption.

He also said PACAC has continued to carry out capacity building initiatives for the various anti-corruption agencies as well as Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“This has resulted in these stakeholders having an improved understanding of their individual roles in the criminal justice system, both in its substantive and procedural aspects. The impact of this effort is reflected in increased number of cases filed and concluded and the improvement in the rate of conviction of looters.

“Total recoveries are hovering around the N1 trillion mark, and even more remarkably these recoveries have been recycled into the budget to uplift the oppressed and most vulnerable victims of corruption, namely, the young unemployed youths, young school children, who can now enjoy one free nutritional meal a day at school, extremely poor families who now receive the conditional cash transfer of N5,000 a month and women, youths, farmers, etc, who now receive interest free loans to capitalise their small scale businesses.

“So the recovered loot is pumped back into the lives of the most vulnerable Nigerians, in order to transform them into proud productive Nigerians, who will end up as employers themselves, contributing to the development of Nigeria,” he added.

According further, he said another contribution of PACAC in the war against corruption was the Committee’s concentration on illicit financial flows (IFF).

He claimed that very little was known about IFF in the country before PACAC brought it into centre stage nationally and internationally.

“Now, we know that this silent, quietly stalking source of financial bleeding, could even be worse in terms of volume of loss, than the typical looting we are all used to. Over invoicing of external expenses, under reporting of resources obtained from the developing countries, tax evasion, under declaration of profits, out sourcing of what could be done within the victim country, etc, all constitute IFFs,” he added.

The PACAC chairman disclosed that the massive losses underdeveloped countries like Nigeria were experiencing as a result of IFFs were recently documented and published by the Global Financial Integrity.

According to the report, Nigeria lost $83 billion in the period 1960 – 2011 and currently, “it is losing more than $45 billion annually.”

“Therefore, the importance of concentrating our minds on IFFs, as PACAC did for two consecutive years, through major international conferences and other strategic engagements, cannot be over stated.

“I have concentrated on only a few items of PACAC’s work, but the varied and extensive level of its work has been remarkable. We have organised Workshops for the Management and Protection of Assets, and an Asset Tracing Team/Central Asset Management Committee, was established in the first term of this Government with membership drawn from the Anti-Corruption Agencies, the Security Agencies, our Committee (PACAC) and from the highest echelons of Government.

“We have also produced manuals and protocols to assist the ACAs (Anti-Corruption Agencies) in their work. These include one on Effective Prosecution, entitled Corruption Case Management Manual, a Plea-Bargaining Manual, and Sentencing Guidelines for High Profile Cases, and A Frame Work for the Management of Recovered Assets, etc,” he added.

Sagay said the committee believes that productivity would be greatly enhanced and corruption greatly curbed if parents arouse themselves to inculcate the needed core values in the children; if schools at all levels become centres of character moulding and manpower development and religious values are deployed by Pastors and Imams in both theory and practice to re-mould the character and orientation of Nigerians.

He also advised the federal government, labour unions, civil society organisations and main stream civil servants to work together to reform the civil service to make it productive rather than a drain on the nation.

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