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Nigeria: Much ado about loot recovery

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EFCC Chairman Magu

The Nigerian government has released statement declaring the total amount of cash recovered from looters of the federal treasury since the inception of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

A statement issued by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, however, did not reveal the names of persons from whom the recoveries were made

ABOVE PHOTO: EFCC Chairman Magu

After reading the long awaited report by the Government of the recovered loot so far, my initial comments:

1) I do not agree with the idea that someone can steal public funds, when caught he cuts himself a deal to return (some of ) the loot. Avoids jail and even a simple ‘name and shame’. What is there in this to deter future looters? 

Where is the check and balance in this system? If the looter returned US$100 Million and the receiver of the recovery states he returned US$50 Million, the looter is not exactly going to start screaming he returned US$100 million and blow his cover is he?

2) This list is an anti-climax to say the least. I can now understand why PMB did not want to be the one announcing it. 

Because many people are not at home with figures, some one is trying to play ziggy with words and figures on the wary.

3) To Simplify what was released:

A. Recoveries of unpaid royalties, Taxes and VAT 

N7 Billion. US$42 Million

B. Recoveries from DASUKIGATE (ONSA)

N71 billion. US$143 million. £3.5 million

C. Recoveries under court trial / interim court forfeiture orders/ frozen bank accounts by courts

N126 billion. US$9 billion. £2.4 Million

D. Abacha loot awaiting returns from foreign countries

US$320 million. £6.9 million. 

The summary of the story is that the Government has done a good job ,( continues to do a good job) in recovering (and continuing to pursue recovery of ) substantial sums from DASUKIGATE.

This release however raises other fundamental questions that will not go away:

1. What happened to the alleged missing US$20 billion from NNPC? That allegedly missing money dwarfs all the above recovered monies. That the government has never said anything about this money puts a huge question mark over the fight against corruption. It is either SLS was lying when he made the allegation or the government knows SLS was saying the truth but has decided to stay away from recovering this money because the government itself is stealing from NNPC.

2. In the past one year we have been inundated by press releases and news reports about ‘recovered loot’. There is a huge gap between these reports and the amounts now listed. Some of these reported recoveries as reported:

 

EFCC recovers N600bn in under six months

AND

Agency’s officials, AGF head to Dubai to recover $200bn looted from Nigeria

AND

EFCC recovers £2 million jewellery from ex-minister, associate’s wife

(this jewellery was NOT listed among the non cash recoveries for instance. Has it be re-looted?)

This is the more reason why more transsparency is needed in the fight against corruption.

Right now it seems we are in a fight against Dasukigate.

Sent to me by Joe Attueyi

 

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