We’ve secured N200bn asset forfeiture, 890 convictions –Malami, Magu

The Federal Government said it has so far secured over N200 billion asset forfeiture from corrupt Nigerians in its war against corruption.

It also disclosed that 890 convictions have been secured from cases prosecuted between January and October 2019.

These were highlights from the town hall meeting on fight against corruption organised yesterday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

The meeting was attended by Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu and his Independent Corrupt Practice and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) counterpart, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye.

Malami, who was represented by Special Adviser to the President on Financial Crimes, Abiodun Ayodeji, said that there were other recoveries that were still in the interim.

“The money we have earned for the Federal Government in the process of the anti-corruption war is in the excess of N200 billion.

“Notable among the recoveries is the $325 million Abacha loot and $75 million connected to the Malabu oil transaction,” he said.

He described the recovery as significant considering the effects of corruption on the country.

The minister regretted that the bulk of over $650 billion Nigeria earned from oil in revenue was either stolen or mismanaged, adding that NEITI recently said that in the last 10 years, $40 billion was stolen due to oil theft alone.

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“These have left us with infrastructure that is grossly inadequate to support modern economy.

“It is, therefore, so real that if we do not kill corruption, the menace will kill us, hence the administration is focusing on war against corruption,” Malami said.

He attributed the successes recorded to the implementation of the Nigeria Anti-Corruption Strategy, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in July 2017.

According to him, the strategy has given components – Prevention of Corruption, Enforcement of Sanction, Public Enlightenment, Campaign for Ethical Reorientation and Recovery of Stolen Fund.

This, he added, was achieved by deliberate implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, (IPPIS) the BVN policy and Treasury Single Account, adding that government was able to enforce sanctions against politically exposed persons which were, hitherto, untouchable.

The EFCC Chairman said the conviction was the highest by any anti-corruption agency in the world.

He gave previous breakdown to include 103 convictions in 2015, while that of 2016 was 189.

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The EFCC, Magu stated, recorded 190 and 202 convictions in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

He attributed the increase in 2019 to the support and activities of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), as well as the opening of nine additional regional offices for wider outreach and collaboration with judges.

“In the last four years, with the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari, we have embarked on enforcement and preventive measures against corruption with a view to tame the monster.

“With the preventive, enforcement and prosecution mandate given to the commission, all that is needed is the combination of courage, integrity and determination.

“Over the last four years, the EFCC has initiated various corruption prevention strategies targeted at the vulnerable segment of the population, children, youths and women with the delivery of anti-corruption messages.

“The focus on corruption prevention is in the commission’s recognition that it is more cost effective to prevent corruption than to prosecute,” he said.

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said one of the successes of the war against corruption is that corrupt persons no longer flaunt their proceeds as was the case in the past.

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He attributed it to strong political will of President Buhari’s administration.

He stated that under the present administration, corruption has been driven under the table.

“One may say that the war against corruption is still a war in progress. But it is also fair to say that corruption has now been driven under the table, and that the corrupt ones can no longer flaunt the proceeds of their corruption the way they used to do in the past.

“That is a major step forward. After all, every successful battle is a step towards winning a war,” Alhaji Mohammed stated.

He noted that other key programmes of the government which included revamping the economy and tackling insecurity, are intertwined with how well the nation is able to fight corruption.

According to him, “The fight against corruption is pivotal to the success of the other cardinal programmes of the administration.”

He warned that as long as the nation fails to check corruption and tackle insecurity, revamping the economy would remain a mirage.

The minister called on Nigerians to support the anti-corruption war so that it can achieve its objectives.

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