Federal Government Has Recovered N18bn Looted Funds — Minister

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, says the Federal Government has recovered N15 billion and another $10.5 million so far in its asset recovery drive.

Malami disclosed this on Thursday, in Abuja, when the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters visited the ministry on its oversight function to appraise the 2016 budget performance of the ministry.

“Let me put it on record that the Federal Ministry of Justice has equally significantly recorded success in the recovery drive as it relates to the looted funds.

“In that regard and direction, over N15 billion had been recovered by the ministry and $10.5 million was equally recovered in that direction,” Malami said.

The minister said that exclusive of the recoveries, the revenue profile of the ministry as at December 31, 2016, was N12.4 million.

He said this was generated from sale of journals, renting of part of the headquarters building to commercial entities, use of its conference hall, tender fees and sale of un-serviceable items.

He added that the total expenditure profile of the ministry within the same period was N3.7 billion, including personnel and non-regular allowances.

Malami said the ministry, by virtue of its mandate, was in a vantage position to articulate and implement the present administration’s broad policy objectives in four major priority areas—“the anti-corruption campaign, the recovery of stolen national assets, the rule of law component of the anti-terrorism war and the institutionalisation of law and order in all aspects of national life.”

On Nigeria’s non-membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Malami explained that it would take the collaboration of both the executive and the legislature to scale all the hurdles.

“Among some of the demands required to become a member are the passing of the Money Laundering Act, Proceeds of Crime Act and Autonomy of the Financial Task Force.

“All these bills are still pending before the legislature and have not been passed, so we need to work together to get Nigeria registered,” he said.

Chairman of the committee, Senator David Umaru (APC-Niger), said the 2016 budget was fraught with challenges, but noted that the ministry and its parastatals were able to make judicious use of it.