How we are spending recovered loots – Buhari (A Must Read)

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has made clarification on the confusion trailing the whereabouts and spending of recovered looted funds. The Nigerian government in April said the recovered loots were being paid into dedicated accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN).

Buhari, in his acceptance speech after he clinched the ruling All Progressives Congress presidential ticket on Saturday, said his administration has been spending the recovered money lost to graft on infrastructural structures. The President was, however, not specific on the infrastructural developments ongoing with the recovered funds.

“We are attacking corruption head-on. With international support we are recovering Nigerian stolen assets and applying them to infrastructural developments,” Buhari said.

While the greatest expectation on Buhari remains in the ability of his government to stem the tide corruption, questions have been raised on the discrepancies in the figures released to the media by Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun.

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Several members of opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who served in the Goodluck Jonathan administration or participated in re-election bid of the former president have been arrested with various amounts allegedly recovered from them.

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The EFCC had also announced recoveries of cash hauls, sometimes in millions of dollars, from homes of former administration officials and even security agencies. Anti-graft detectives made back-to-back recoveries after the administration’s whistle-blower policy came to force in late 2016.

Magu has regularly touted his agency’s success in the fight against corruption, especially on confiscation of ill-gotten wealth from public coffers. In February, he said the EFCC recovered as much as N500 billion in 2017 alone. Two months before in November 2017, he disclosed that the EFCC recovered about N739 billion within two years.

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However, the figures were disputed by the ministry and department saddled with administering the recoveries. The Ministry of Finance in a letter in February 9 letter to Magu, said the ministry had calculated all recovered funds and arrived at N91 billion (N91,383,370,501.73) in recovery loot account.

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The amount represents about 18 per cent of the N500 billion Magu said was recovered in 2017 and a little over 12 per cent of the N739 billion he said had been recovered within two years. The N91.3 billion also included assets under final and interim forfeitures and funds recovered in foreign currencies, according to an updated table of the recoveries attached to the letter.

The Nigerian government has ever since then remained silent on these discrepancies.

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