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FG Recovers 40 SUVs From Ex-Perm Sec Godknows Igali

The federal government has recovered 40 brand new Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and other vehicles from a former permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Power, Dr. Godknows Igali.

Dr Igali, who retired from office recently, was said to have made away with the luxury cars which belong to the federal government.

Though the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, did not confirm or deny the identity of the culprit, Leadership reports that Igali is the man in question.

The information minister, however, asserted yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari had a ‘well-articulated’ strategy in fighting corruption.

Alhaji Mohammed, who stated this while reacting to criticisms that the anti-corruption war lacked strategy, insisted that the federal government was being guided by a well-articulated strategy in its anti-corruption fight, contrary to the misconception in certain circles that the government is fighting corruption without a strategy.

In a statement made available to the pressFriday yesterday, the minister said that “the strategy has proven so effective that it has led to, among others, the recovery of 40 brand new SUVs and other vehicles from one former permanent secretary who single-handedly appropriated the vehicles to himself when he left office.’’

He explained that the federal government was not just fixated on prosecution alone but that it was also taking preventive measures to make corruption unattractive

Mohammed listed the strict enforcement of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), which has largely reduced the diversion of government funds into various secret accounts, and the constant fishing out of ghost workers in the public service, which many states are now adopting, as some of the preventive measures against corruption.

He listed other measures taken by the administration to strengthen the anti-corruption fight to include the establishment of the Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery and the Asset Tracing Committee; the setting up of an Asset Register, and the Whistle Blower Policy.

The information minister also announced the plan by the government, working through the Code of Conduct Bureau, to commence a trial run of electronic asset declaration to facilitate compliance and also to search and retrieve data on the assets of public officers, starting in 2017.

In addition, he said, the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption is working with relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), especially the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), to improve data collection on corruption indicators.

‘’Once perfected,” he said, “the data will be shared with government periodically, if possible, as regularly as government receives data on inflation and unemployment trends, to indicate trends in corruption and influence government measures to correct the situation before it gets out of hand, as we have now,’’ the minister said.

Expatiating on the Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery, he said the body meets regularly to treat reports from key law enforcement agencies on government’s anti-corruption effort, share information and intelligence, review the challenges being faced in the anti-corruption efforts generally, and give directives on the way forward.

‘’This same body, on the recommendation of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, has directed a centralised management of recovered looted assets through the Central Asset Management Committee under the leadership of minister of finance as the legal custodian of government asset.

‘’This singular move has reduced the opportunity for re-looting of recovered assets that was prevalent under previous regime. By this measure, EFCC, ICPC and all asset recovery law enforcement agencies are mandatorily required to furnish the minister of finance with full details of recovered assets, whether cash or otherwise,’’ he stated, adding that data reconciliation would soon be completed and the information made available to the public.

On the Asset Register, he said it has made very difficult the looting of government physical assets, most notably vehicles, by departing political appointees as well as senior and middle level officers.

Mohammed said the recently approved Whistle Blower policy is designed to further enhance government’s effort to recover looted funds.

‘’People who give credible and useful information to government that leads to recovery of stolen public assets will be rewarded with between 2.5 per cent and five per cent of the recovered fund and government will keep the identity of the whistle blower absolutely confidential,’’ he asserted.

According to him, the government is finalising the constitution of an Asset Tracing Team to work with internationally reputably bodies to trace and recover public assets in private pockets.

‘’In this regard, government will also escalate the use of non-conviction-based asset recovery methods to boost revenue and diminish corruption and the perception that crime pays or that criminals can keep their loot”, he said.



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Copyright 2015 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to and other relevant sources.

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