• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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FG moves to recover $750m, £6.9m stolen funds

Abubakar-Malami

Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) on Tuesday disclosed that efforts are underway to recover additional $750 million ‘Abacha loot’.

Similar efforts have been put in place by the present administration towards the recovery of £6.9 million “Ibori loot” on behalf of Federal Government.

Malami who gave the assurance during an interactive session with the House of Representatives Committee on Justice, chaired by Abdukrasaq Atunwa, held at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, explained that the funds would be recovered through Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements or other bilateral and multilateral instruments.

He said: “in respect of the recovery of looted assets, the ministry will engage in an agreed policy of using Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements or other bilateral and multilateral instruments to seek cooperation with other jurisdictions to ensure the repatriation of illicitly- acquired assets in foreign jurisdictions.

“The collaboration will equally involve the engagement of foreign-based counsel to attend to matters on behalf of the Federal Government. Low- hanging fruits being targeted in this initiative include $750 million ‘Abaca loot’ as well as the sum of GBP 6.9 million of the ‘Ibori loot’.

“On the long run, the ministry will be in a position to coordinate the recovery of billions of dollars in foreign jurisdictions, based on current estimations.”

While responding to pending terrorism cases, the minister disclosed that the ministry has concluded arrangements to kick-start about 800 terrorism cases.

“My ministry is currently processing approximately 800 terrorism cases for prosecution. The resources required for the successful prosecution of these cases, as well as the general coordination of the criminal justice sector as envisaged under the ACIA, were fully captured in the original proposal made by the ministry to the Ministry of Finance,” he explained.

While reacting to the restriction placed on the judgement debts, the minister stated that the ministry would not be able to execute any capital projects, considering the huge judgement liabilities of N75 billion against N16 billion proposed in the 2016 budget.

He further lamented that the sum of N709,155,140 approved by the budget office does not meet one percent of the outstanding judgement debts.

Malami maintained that “given the enormous additional responsibilities on the ministry, arising from the passage of the administration of criminal justice Act (ACJA) 2015, this amount is obviously, grossly inadequate.

KEHINDE AKINTOLA