By Godson Ikiebey-
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that assets seized from officials who could not explain how they got them will not be returned but rather sold and the proceeds will be put in the Treasury Single Account.
According to the President, in the past assets seized from officials would later be returned to them when the government is changed, vowing that such occurrence will not happen anymore.
Recalling experience of the past, in which assets were seized from officials who couldn’t explain how they got them, “only for those assets to be returned to them when government was changed,” President Buhari vowed that such would not recur, as he had given instructions that all forfeited assets be sold, “and the money put in the Treasury Single Account”. 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”.
The president said this on Thursday, October 10, 2019 when members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) visited him at State House, Abuja, promising to beam the searchlight on the cost of governance, and weed out possible corruption that exists anywhere.
The President appreciated members of the committee for the “major sacrifice “they’ve made in accepting the assignment to serve the country,” noting, “Some of the elite won’t trust you, and you will be alienated, no matter how close you are to them”.
Chairman of PACAC, Itse Sagay, who led the delegation, said Nigeria was lucky more than ever to have a person of President Buhari’s credentials as leader of government. Sagay said:
“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”.
He said the committee trains, build the capacity of anti-corruption agencies, and has helped to develop a programme of non-conviction assets recovery, which is recording great success.
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 the government would take a dispassionate look into all the requests.