By Sonde Oluwawaseun
In its anti-corruption fight, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said the federal government this year has recovered over N200 billion from final forfeiture cases in 2019.
Malami disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday at a Special Town Hall Meeting on “Fight Against Corruption”, organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture.
At the same event, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, said his agency has secured no fewer than 890 convictions in economic and financial crime cases in 2019.
Malami, who was represented by an adviser to the president on financial crimes, Abiodun Ayodeji, said the federal government has collected in excess of N200 billion “multiple amongst these are the $2.5 million in partial recovery, we also got $75 million connected to the Malabu transactions.”
While pointing out that the war against corruption should be seen as an existential battle, he said the fight against corruption will not be successful until the process is carried out in a coordinated manner in line with best practices.
He said the federal government is working on leveraging technology to fight corruption by creating enabling legislation and laws to permit the use of technology in fighting corruption.
In his presentation, the EFCC boss said the commission has recorded 890 convictions from January to October this year.
This, he said, is unsurpassed by any agency anywhere in the world.
He said the commission recorded 114 convictions in 2015, 189 convictions in 2016,190 convictions in 2017 and 312 convictions in 2018.
He also said the commission has recovered hundreds of billions of Naira in various categories of asset forfeiture.
According to him, “Asset recovery is key in denying the corrupt the enjoyment of the proceeds of his/her crime. It also affords the country the opportunity to channel recovered funds into national development.”
He said some of the funds were recovered for third party individuals, companies, as well as government agencies such as Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and state governments.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who was the host of the event, said corruption in Nigeria 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.
Mohammed said though the war against corruption was still in progress, the listed achievements count as a major step forward since every successful battle is a step towards winning a war.
He pointed out that the fight against corruption is one of the three cardinal programmes of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, with the others being the war against insecurity and the revamping of the economy.
“The war against corruption is a war of survival for Nigeria. This is because the success of the other key programmes of the government, revamping the economy and tackling insecurity, is closely intertwined with how well the nation is able to fight corruption.
“For as long as the nation fails to check corruption, tackling insecurity and revamping the economy will remain a mirage. In other words, the fight against corruption is pivotal to the success of the other cardinal programmes of the administration,” he said.