Abuja – Prof. Itse Sagay, chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), has estimated total recoveries from looters to be in the threshold of N1 trillion.
He insisted that a larger chunk of such recoveries went into the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme (SIP).
Sagay, who led a delegation to the Presidential Villa to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari, also accused the immediate past 8th National Assembly of aiding corruption by frustrating all attempts to effectively prosecute those that were fingered as corrupt.
He acknowledged that corruption still pervades Buhari’s administration but that the capacity of it to fight back has been reduced with the expiration of the life of 8th National Assembly because that was where the main opposition to this government was constituted.
“About N1 trillion have been recovered from looters and other monies that were recovered from abroad were being ploughed back into the same system,” he stated.
The renowned Prof of Law said, “It did not depend on which party they belonged to, they all ganged up together against the fight against corruption and did everything they could to frustrate the government and ourselves in this fight.
“Luckily, the 9th Assembly is totally different Assembly, it is an Assembly that is determined to work hand in hand with the government and therefore with us in achieving the highest level of non-corruption in society.”
In the area of recoveries, the PACAC chairman said: “It is unprecedented in the annals of this country that we could be recovering so much assets illegally acquired mainly by public servants.
“The more remarkable aspect of it is that this recovered loots are being ploughed into the national budget every year. It is ploughed back into the national budget and used for the Social Investment Programme.
“So when you hear about feeding of over 12 million school children as at when I checked last having nutritious meal every day, you hear of poor families being supported to survive and stand on their feet or over 500,000 young people who are being trained in all sorts of skills and paid N30,000 a month by the government and the interest free loans given to small scale businesses all over the country.
“It’s all part of this money, not a kobo of it is left, everything is ploughed back and I think the country should know that, it’s very unprecedented, this never happened before in the history of this country, everything is ploughed back.”
He boasted that the committee has succeeded in improving the quality of prosecution by giving the anticorruption prosecution agencies a lot of capacity building, trained them in the manner cases should be prosecuted and how charges should be drawn.
“Judges up to the Supreme Court have also benefitted from this programme”, Sagay added.
On fuel subsidy, he said that nobody talks about fuel subsidy corruption any more, revealing that previously Nigeria was losing N400 billion every year on fake fuel subsidy payments “but now, it is zero.”
He maintained that Nigeria has gained tremendously and corruption has gone down.
“There is still corruption but it has gone down and anybody who indulges particularly an officer of a state who engages in it knows the risk he is taking. We have the TSA, we have the bank verification number, all those things have made an incredible change in our level of anti-corruption.
“Now you cannot hide money in the banks anymore and agencies cannot hide money in various banks accounts which they spend without the knowledge of the government. Everything is in one place, everything is transparent, thanks to this government,” the anticorruption committee chairman added.
On challenges confronting the fight against corruption he said: “Previously we were afraid that when the initial donor agency funds will be exhausted which we exhausted last year, we will be in trouble but I must say the government and various other bodies in this country which I will not want to mention, have come to support PACAC with funds. So we are able to carry on our activities at the same speed as before.”
He disclosed that foreign donors “are no longer funding us apart from McArthur that still fund programmes from time to time.”