President Muhammadu Buhari has set up an inter-agency Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery as part of the efforts to strengthen the ongoing fight against corruption. The committee is headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this when he received the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa, Mr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, in Abuja on Friday. This was contained in a statement issued by the Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, Mr. Segun Adeyemi.
The minister also called for the support of the UN in fighting corruption, which he said was as dangerous and devastating as the fight against insecurity.
“Just as you (UN) have supported us in the fight against insecurity in the North-East, we need your institutional, technical and diplomatic support in fighting corruption,’’ Mohammed said.
He disclosed that the PCAR, which was set up on the recommendation of the Presidential Advisory Council Against Corruption, would oversee the anti-corruption agenda and coordinate asset recovery process.
Mohammed said the PCAR was coordinating the collation and categorisation of recovered assets from 2015-2016; verifying the records and status of physical assets such as buildings recovered under previous administrations and setting up the Framework for Management of Recovered Stolen Asset to avoid re-looting and mismanagement of the assets as experienced in the past.
He said a register was created for recovered stolen assets and other government assets to avoid a situation where former or even serving public officers carry away government assets like vehicles, computers etc. sometimes in multiples.
The minister said the Federal Government was determined to recover all assets illicitly acquired by public officers and other politically exposed persons, hence new measures were underway to enhance recovery of illegally acquired assets and these would be announced from time to time.
To encourage whistle-blowers, he said, the government was also considering an incentive framework for those who provide useful information that lead to recovery of stolen or illegally concealed public assets, adding that the government was also soliciting the support of Nigerians in the Diaspora and international NGOs in the campaign for asset return from foreign governments.
Mohammed said Nigeria remained determined and focused in putting a stop to corruption, which according to him, is part of the reasons that Nigeria is suffering from economic recession.