Looted Funds

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has disclosed that Nigeria would soon make additional recovery of about $200million, being part of public funds that were looted and stashed outside the country.

He said repatriation of the looted fund is subject to the settlement of litigations that the Federal Ministry of Justice is currently attending to.

Malami spoke at the 2021 annual public lecture organized by the Centre for Media and Peace Initiative, New York, United States of America.

The AGF, in a statement that was made available to newsmen by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Gwandu, maintained that outstanding successes recorded by President Muhammadu Buhari in international asset recovery, could be a template for other African countries in the fight against corruption.

According to him, President Buhari, being an Africa Union Champion in the fight against corruption, has endeavored under his leadership to fight corruption in all its ramified manifestations through legislative framework, institutional infrastructure, the adoption of effective preventive measures against corruption and putting in place mechanisms for management of recovered stolen assets.

“Various steps have been taken in terms of legislatives frameworks, establishment of institutions and policy measures targeted at combatting corruption, regional corporation and ensuring good governance for the benefit of citizens”, Malami said.

“In 2017, the signing of a trilateral Agreement with Switzerland and World Bank enabled the recovery of $322.515million.

“In 2020 a total sum of $311.7million was returned to Nigeria after signing another trilateral agreement with the U.S.A and Bailiwick of Jersey.

“Also in the year 2020, 5.4million Euros was recovered in March emanating from an agreement signed with Northern Island. The Federal Government was able to recover from UK the sum of €4,214,017.66 connected to the family of James Ibori.

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“Additional recoveries to the tune of $200million are being anticipated subject to the settlement of litigations of which the Ministry of Justice is attending to presently”, Malami stated.

He said the present administration was able to achieve successes due to the political will, funding, legislations, institutional support, and Executive Orders by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The Buhari’s approach to fight against corruption has been one of three cardinal pillars of our campaign promises, the others are economic and security development”.

He added that Nigeria has taken anti-corruption measures in tackling cybercrime, money laundering, oil bunkering and false assets declaration among others.

More so, Malami, noted that the Federal Government has developed the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and a guideline for smooth implementation of the strategy which has five pillars; prevention of corruption, public engagement, ethical re-orientation, enforcement and sanction, and recovery and management of proceeds of crime.

Stressing that former Governors, Senators, Ministers, including some members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), were not spared in the fight against corruption.

“I am pleased to inform this gathering that the Federal Government of Nigeria has recovered funds from corporate bodies and individuals through the combined efforts of the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and our Law Enforcement Agencies through local and international collaboration with international community and adoption of strategies put in place”.

“Currently, high profile personalities including judicial officers and former governors indicted for corruption have been or are being prosecuted. We have some former top government officials convicted and serving various jail terms for corruption related crimes while in office,” the AGF added.

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