FG Recovers $1bn Looted Fund Since 2015
The federal government says it has recovered $1 billion of looted funds since the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2015.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, (AGF), Abubakar Malami, disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja on Wednesday.
The meeting of the council was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Malami said the proceeds of the fight against corruption had been ploughed into the nation’s economy as a means of impacting the livelihood of Nigerians through programmes like the school feeding programme, among others.
The AGF, while revealing that the initial government recorded only 109 convictions before 2015, said the Buhari administration has convicted over 3,000 offenders and recovered about $1b to date.
He expressed the government’s concern over sundry cases of budget padding, describing the development as worrisome.
While noting that necessary measures would be explored to address the menace, Malami announced the council’s approval of the new anti-corruption strategy document to strengthen the anti-graft fight in the country.
He said: “FEC approved validation extension of the National Anti-Corruption program to 2026. A new policy which resulted from cooperation amongst Justice.”
He noted that the anti-corruption initiatives had helped the government to recover about $ 1 billion in stolen funds from the public coffers, adding that “the new anti-corruption strategy will strengthen the war against corruption between 2022 and 2026.“
Malami, while responding to a question on budget padding, decried the menace allegedly carried out by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.
Specifically, Malami’s position is coming on the heels of several revelations from the ongoing MDAs budget defence in the National Assembly.
Recall that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Saddiya Farouk, had blamed the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, for adding N206bn to the humanitarian ministry’s budget.
Farouq, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Special Duties on Monday to defend the 2023 budget, claimed that the ministry requested some projects for the North East Development Commission and the National Social Safety Net Project in the 2022 budget, which were not released, but was surprised to see an inflated amount in the 2023 budget of the ministry.
Elisha Abbo, the APC senator representing Adamawa North senatorial district, had asked the minister about the inflated N206 billion in the budget.
The minister said: “Yes, we made mention of the projects for 2022 that were not released, and part of it was for the NEDC.”
Malami, while responding to questions on the revelations alleging budget padding, stated that the federal government was studying the details and would do what was necessary to address it.