By Chris Agabi
The Federal Government has said all looted funds recovered by the anti-graft agencies and through whistleblowing policy will be used to fund projects that are captured in the national budget.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), disclosed this, yesterday, at the 3rd annual conference on financial fraud, electoral fraud and cross-border crimes organised by Forensic Insight and the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja.
Represented at the event by the Special Assistant to the President on Financial Crimes, Mr. Abiodun Aikomo, the minister said: “Efforts are being put in place to effectively monitor the use of recovered funds, and ensure that all projects to which such funds/assets are applied are captured in the annual budget or special appropriations, where necessary.”
According to him, “this has been identified as an effective approach to fraud prevention and confidence building in asset recovery and management.”
Let me further assure Nigerians, he said, that the Federal Government of Nigeria is working towards having the necessary legal framework required for effective management of recovered assets through the passage and consequential implementation of the Proceeds of Crime Bill
He reiterated that the whistleblowing policy of the Federal Government is paying off.
“Under the whistleblowing programmes and similar initiatives that are meant to combat and prevent corruption, the Federal Government recovered N13.8 billion from tax evaders (in May 2018, the government paid N439.2 million to about 14 whistle-blowers’ who gave specific tips on tax evasion; and N7.8 billion, $378 million, £27,800 in recoveries from public officials”, he revealed.
Overall, “between 29th May 2015 and 22nd November 2017, the sum of N769 billion in cash were recovered by the Federal Government of Nigeria. It is also expected that the VOARS will earn significant revenue for the Federal Government of Nigeria estimated conservatively at 2.5 billion Swiss Francs (approximately over 900 billion Naira), and yield a new expanded tax base from which the FGN will earn future tax revenue,” he said.
The minister also used the opportunity to further justify the vexed Executive Order 6. “Contrary to assumption by critics, the Executive Order No. 6 has the legal backing of the law” he said.
He explained that the order became necessary to ensure fairness in prosecuting financial fraud cases.