Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday that he has instructed all the relevant agencies involved in the recovery of looted assets such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), to sell all forfeited assets and the money put in the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
This came just as the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) said that the Committee has recovered looted assets of about N1 trillion and that the money was used for the national budget and the Social Investment Programmes (SIP) which includes the school feeding programme.
The Chairman of the PACAC, Prof. Itsey Sagay also said panel would now concentrate its fight against corruption at the top level of government where powerful people use state funds for personal needs.
Hosting members of PACAC at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari promised to beam the searchlight on the cost of governance, and weed out possible corruption that exists anywhere.
The President in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, thanked members of the Committee for the “major sacrifice “they’ve made in accepting the assignment to serve the country,” noting, “some of the elite won’t trust you, and you will be alienated, no matter how close you are to them.”
Recalling experience of the past, in which assets were seized from officials who couldn’t explain how they got them, “only for those assets to be returned to them when government was changed,” President Buhari vowed that such would not recur, as he had given instructions that all forfeited assets be sold, “and the money put in the Treasury Single Account.”
He said: “Let’s see who will now take back the money from the treasury, and give back to those people, as was done in the past.”
Prof. Sagay, who led the delegation, said Nigeria was lucky more than ever to have a person of President Buhari’s credentials as leader of the government.
“We congratulate you for being a star of the anti-corruption struggle in Africa. You attach a lot of importance to the fight against corruption, and we have tried to achieve the aims you had in mind when you established PACAC.”
Prof. Sagay said the committee trains and builds the capacity of anti-corruption agencies, and has helped to develop a programme of non-conviction assets recovery, which is recording great successes.