The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, on Thursday revealed that over N1 trillion looted from government treasury has been recovered.
According to him, the figure is different from the cash and property stashed abroad that have been recovered.
Sagay, who spoke with reporters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari alongside other members of the committee, vowed that the N5 trillion government funds in the hands of big time delinquent borrowers would be recovered.
According to him, the recovered funds were being ploughed back into the national budget, adding that funds for the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) were sourced from the recovered loot.
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He said: “I think the money so far recovered is roughly almost about N1 trillion. You (can) see that in 2017, N500 billion was spent on this Social Investment Programme and in 2018 the same amount (was budgeted) for the programme.
“So, it must be roughly about N1 trillion although we also have monies that were recovered from abroad and being ploughed back into the same system.”
Declaring that corruption had been reduced in the country, Sagay said the committee stopped the N400 billion yearly loss to fake fuel subsidy.
“In the area of recoveries, I don’t need to tell anybody, it is unprecedented in the annals of this country that we could be recovering so much assets illegally acquired mainly by public servants but not only by public servants.
“And the more remarkable aspect of it is that this recovered loot is being ploughed into the national budget every year. It is ploughed back into the national budget and used for the Social Investment Programme (SIP).
“So, when you hear about feeding of over 12 million school children as at when I checked last having nutritious meal every day, you hear of poor families being supported to survive and stand on their feet or over 500,000 young people who are being trained in all sorts of skills and paid N30,000 a month by the government and the interest free loans given to small scale businesses all over the country.
“It’s all part of this money, not a kobo of it is left, everything is ploughed back and I think the country should know that, it’s very unprecedented, this never happened before in the history of this country, everything is ploughed back.
“Then, we have succeeded in improving the quality of prosecution by giving the anti-corruption agencies a lot of capacity building, train them in the manner cases should be prosecuted and how charges should be drawn. Judges up to the Supreme Court have also benefitted from this programme.” he said
Continuing, the professor of law said: “In the area of corruption, you will be surprised if you think back that nobody talks about fuel subsidy corruption anymore. Previously we were losing almost N400 billion every year on fake fuel subsidy payments but now, it is zero.
“So, generally, the tone of the country has improved. The country has gained tremendously, corruption has gone down. There is still corruption but it has gone down and anybody who indulges, particularly an officer of a state who engages in it, knows the risk he is taking.
“We have the TSA, we have the bank verification number, all those things have made an incredible change in our level of anti-corruption.
“Now you cannot hide money in the banks anymore and agencies cannot hide money in various banks accounts which they spend without the knowledge of the government. Everything is in one place, everything is transparent, thanks to this government.”
According to him, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, (AMCOM) is determined to recover the estimated N5 trillion debts.
“AMCOM itself has taken up the challenge, they have assessed the amount of debt being owed some as a result of corruption, others as a result of pure business failures and they are very determined now to recover these debts and I am aware there is a lot of vigour in an attempt to recover the debts right now.
“We don’t have any direct role in this area although whatever they do will benefit the country because it is about N5 trillion involved, so they are vigorously fighting it under the new management and committee that was set up and I think they will recover a lot if not all,” he said.