By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The Federal Government has made clarification on the confusion trailing the whereabouts of recovered loots, insisting that they were being paid into dedicated accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Vanguard reports that discrepancies in the figures released to the media by the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, and the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, have raised suspicions over the whereabouts of the recovered funds.
Magu had announced the sum of N739bn as the amount recovered in the first two years of his stewardship. While, Adeosun said records available to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, OAGF, had only N91.4 billion as amounts recovered since 2015. She consequently requested the EFCC to clarify where the cash recoveries were deposited, with documentary evidence.
But the Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku, speaking at press conference in Abuja, said all stolen public funds recovered so far; were paid into special asset recovery accounts with the CBN, which in turn, transfers such funds into the Federation Account, from where they have been utilised to fund the budget since 2017.
Ibekaku-Nwagwu, who is also the coordinator of Nigeria’s Open Government Partnership (OGP), said: “As many of you may be aware, government has made significant efforts in asset recovery. A recent MoU on the co-monitoring of the expenditure of Abacha loot repatriated from Switzerland has been described by stakeholders as model for other countries on how to utilize looted funds when they are returned to their countries of Origin.
“However, when the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari began the recovery of looted funds, the President personally authorized the issuance of guidelines on the channeling of the looted funds. He specifically directed that all recovered fund be kept at special asset recovery accounts in the CBN.
“From there, the funds should be moved to the Federation Account for the purpose of funding the national budget. That was the case last year. We can see that even the 2017 budget was partly funded with the recovered loot.
“As we speak, the President has appointed auditors to examine all the CBN asset recovery accounts. So, there should be no doubts over the whereabouts of recovered funds,” she added.