- Orders sale of recovered assets to avert return to owners in future
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja promised to look into the cost of governance, and flush out corruption wherever it may be found.
Buhari made this pledge while hosting members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) in the State House.
He recalled the experience of the past, when seized assets alleged to be proceeds of corruption were returned to initial owners after his military government was ousted from office, vowing that he would not allow such to repeat itself.
According to him, instructions had been given to relevant authorities that all forfeited assets be sold, “and the money put in the Treasury Single Account.”
A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president expressed appreciation to members of the committee led by its Chairman, Professor Itse Sagay, for the “major sacrifice they’ve made in accepting the assignment to serve the country,” adding: “Some of the elite won’t trust you, and you will be alienated, no matter how close you are to them.”
He said: “Let’s see who will now take back the money from the treasury, and give back to those people, as was done in the past.”
According to Adesina, Sagay praised Buhari and congratulated him on his anti-corruption drive, reporting that the committee had worked towards realising the objective of its creation.
“We congratulate you for being a star of the anti-corruption struggle in Africa. You attach a lot of importance to the fight against corruption, and we have tried to achieve the aims you had in mind when you established PACAC,” Adesina quoted Sagay.
According to the statement, Sagay highlighted duties of the committee to include: training, capacity building for anti-corruption agencies, adding that it had helped in developing a programme of non-conviction assets recovery, which he said was recording a great successes.
“PACAC made some recommendations to the President, in order to move the anti-corruption war many steps forward. They include, reestablishment of the jury system for criminal cases in the country; setting up of a judicial commission on corruption in the judiciary, to be headed by retired judges under the auspices of National Judicial Council (NJC); passage of Proceeds of Crime Act by the National Assembly; the setting up of a Presidential Truth and Restitution Task Force; and a closer look at the cost of governance to weed out all vestiges of corruption.
“President Buhari pledged that government would take a dispassionate look into all the requests,” the statement added.