Abubakar Malami, AGF
Juliana Taiwo- Obalonye, Abuja
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has assured that the bulk of recovered looted funds will be used to fund the 2020 budget.
His disclosure came as President Muhammadu Buhari, recently revealed that he would order immediate disposal of assets recovered from looters once the court orders forfeiture of such assets to the government, with the proceeds paid into the Federation Account.
He had said that will prevent the forfeited assets from being relooted when a government that favours looters comes on board.
Malami, stated this at the 10th annual conference of the Centre for Peace and En- vironmental Justice (CEPEJ) with the theme: Insecurity and Corruption: Implication for development in Africa on Tuesday in Abuja.
Represented by the Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reforms and International Relations, Juliet Nwagwu, the AGF noted that no administration in the country had taken steps like the Buhari’s to recover looted funds.
Malami said: “Permit me to say that no government has taken steps like the government of President Buhari’s to recover funds of illicit origin. These funds have also been paid into the Federation Account and are being used to fund the national budget.
“For the first time in 2017, the president authorised that there should be a revenue item in the Appropriation Act that is called Recovered Asset as a revenue item in all budget process.”
On efforts by the present administration to tackle corruption, Malami said that the Buhari administration in 2015, initiated six bills to help its anti-graft war.
The AGF said that two of the six bills have been passed while the government is in the process of representing the remaining four to the National Assembly.
He said: “Corruption and insecurity are a huge problem in Nigeria and many other African states that has so far defied solution and is responsible for much of the economic under performance in the continent.
“While significant progress has been made in tackling corruption and improving security a lot of work still needs to be done in order to build sustainable approaches and enduring institutions.
“There is no doubt that high level corruption can fuel insecurity and lead to weak economy and widespread inequality. It’s against this background that President Muhammadu Bu- hari in 2015 commenced the process of taking various steps in tackling corruption and insecurity in Nigeria as well as reaching out to other African countries.
“Since 2015, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Federal Government has initiated several laws and policies to strengthen the fight against corruption both within the public and private sector.
“Some of the bills initiated in 2015 are: the Finan- cial Intelligence Agency bill, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, the Proceeds of Crime bill, the Money Laundering Prohibition repeal bill as well as another bill that is meant to deal with the issue of terror- ism known as the Terrorist Prohibition and Prevention bill.
“As at today, the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Bill that is aimed at ensuring that intelligence on stolen fund is available to all law enforcement agencies as well as anti-corruption agencies has been passed and has been assented to by the president.
“The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill gives the attorney general the power to get information on all criminal related investigation from outside Nigeria has also been passed into law and have been assented to by the president. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get the other bills passed but we are re-presenting them to the National Assembly and we hope that by next year those bills would have been passed into law.”
The Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari, in his remarks urged Nigerians to join hands with the Federal Government to tackle corruption and insecurity.
Abari, who was represented by the Director, Documentation, Translation and Publication at the agency, Davidson Aminu said: “If we must develop as a country, if we must be at par with other countries, collectively, we must fight corruption. On the other hand, the problem of insecurity remains one that we must fight collectively.