President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration is committed to depriving looters of public assets the fruits of their crimes.
Buhari described asset recovery as an anti-corruption tool, urging the National Assembly to take all necessary steps to pass the pending Proceeds of Crimes Bill.
He said this on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja while officially receiving the report of the three-man presidential committee set up to audit recovered funds.
The President said that the bill when passed and assented to, would revolutionise the nation’s asset recovery and management architecture”.
Buhari had on November 22, 2017, inaugurated the committee comprising Mr. Olufemi Lijadu, Mrs. Gloria Chinyere Bibigha and Mr. Mohammed Nami.
The committee was given the mandate to carry out a comprehensive audit of assets and funds recovered by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria from May 29, 2015, to November 22, 2017.
Although details of the report of the committee were not released, the President promised to implement its findings and recommendations.
He described corruption as constituting “a threat to the well-being, national security, and economy of Nigeria”, adding that his administration “will not allow the wanton diversion and embezzlement of public funds into private pockets”.
Buhari said, : “Thus, we intend to continue taking all necessary measures to deprive looters of public assets of the fruits of their crimes.
“It is in keeping with the Anti-corruption Policy of this Government, and in line with global best practices that this Committee was set-up to review our asset recovery and management practices in order to evolve a proper management, transparency and accountability culture in the management of recovered assets.
“Given our history of impunity, much of Nigeria’s wealth has historically been squandered or stolen; leaving us with inadequate infrastructure for our growing population and economy.
Asset Recovery is thus one of the essential tools for fighting corruption and we must, therefore, take issues of managing such recovered assets very seriously.
“We must utilise proceeds of our recoveries optimally to address our economic and social problems, and loopholes for stealing public funds must be blocked.
To this end, let me assure Nigerians that the findings and recommendations of the Committee would be carefully examined and given due consideration with a view to implementing the recommendations.”