Reps vow to recover national assets acquired through fraud

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Assets on Tuesday, vowed to recover assets belonging to the nation acquired through fraudulent processes.

The committee’s Chairman, Ademorin Kuye, stated this in Abuja at a one-day retreat organised by the panel on the theme, “Guardian of Public Trust: Transforming Public Assets Oversight and Legislation.”

Fielding questions on the sidelines of the retreat, Kuye said, “As Chairman of this committee, I am ready to step on toes. We are ready to go all the way in ensuring that all Federal Government assets are recovered from looters, from people who have misappropriated them both in the private and public sectors. We are ready! We have the support of Mr President and the leadership of the National Assembly to do our work without fear or favour. I want to assure Nigerians that every asset belonging to them will be recovered. Even the concessioned assets, those who are in charge must work according to the concession agreement.”

On the task before him and his colleagues, he added, “The committee is set to ensure that there is transparency and accountability in the management and disposal of public assets going forward. When we talk of public assets, we do not mean physical assets only. We are referring to both tangible and intangible assets, given the investments by the Federal Government in concessions, privatisations and all of that.”

On the valuation of national assets across the country, Kuye faulted the data credited to the MOFI, saying, “What we have in this country in terms of assets have not been properly valued. On the website of MOFI, it is claimed that Federal Government assets are worth $18bn, but that is not true. From my own estimate, the value is over $100bn. When we put all this on record, in a proper asset register and harmonization of the laws with a legislative backing for MOFI, they can then efficiently perform their responsibilities, and this will help the country.”

Earlier in his opening remark, Kuye, informed members of the committee that the task before them was to kickstart a process that would not only bring about proper documentation of national assets but also work against financial losses in the future.

“We have witnessed how inadequate records have led to significant financial losses, a gap in our national accounting that we can no longer afford. It’s time to move towards a future where every asset is meticulously recorded, its value and potential fully acknowledged.

We must picture these assets as hidden treasures, merely awaiting the right strategy to transform them into vital cogs contributing to our economic machinery. Through rigorous audits and strategic planning, we will unlock their potential, channeling their latent value back into the economy,” he said, even as pledged the readiness of the committee to sanction any MDA found wanting, going forward.

“We stand firm in our commitment to enforce sanctions on MDAs that deviate from the set regulations. This stance is not just about maintaining order; it’s about instilling a culture of accountability and responsibility.

“Aligned with the Federal House of Representatives’ agenda, we will not shy away from sanctioning agencies responsible for abandoned or unapproved projects. This is part of our broader goal to re-engineer our economy through efficient asset management,” he added.

Kuye who represents Shomolu Federal Constituency, Lagos State further stressed the significance of having a comprehensive national register of publicly-owned assets, saying, “It will serve as the foundation of our understanding of government assets, both domestically and internationally,” describing the register as  “A tool that will bring clarity and transparency to our operations.”

Earlier in his presentation, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, MOFI, Armstrong Takang appealed to the committee to assist the agency in performing its role with minimal difficulty.

Represented by the Executive Director, Risk Management, MOFI, Oluwakemi Babalogbon, Takam urged the lawmakers to assist the agency with laws to address political intervention, corruption and corporate governance.

The event was attended by members of the committee including Ibrahim Isiaka, Olumide Osoba, Kama Nkemkanma, among others.

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