The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, has blamed the National Assembly for the slow pace of recovery of looted funds from corrupt public office holders in the country saying that the delay in passage of the Proceeds of Crimes Bill in both Senate and House of Representatives is the major clog on the wheels of progress in recovery efforts.
Malami spoke at the second day of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigative hearing on Recovery of Looted Funds, Movable and Immovable Assets for Effective Utilization and Management from 2002-2021 at the National assembly.
He explained that when he assumed office in 2015 as Attorney-General of the Federation, there was no blueprint of government on recovery of stolen funds and assets from corrupt public office holders past and present and informed the lawmakers that he initiated the needed legal framework for asset recovery and stressed that -the Asset Recovery and Management Bill, is still pending before the two chambers of the apex legislature.
On the recovery efforts put up by the Ministry of Justice, Malami, stated that they established an asset recovery unit to fast track the process adding that different recovery accounts were opened at the Central Bank of Nigeria for it.
He revealed that in December 2017, a total of $300million was recovered from Abacha’s loot. In May 2020, $311million was recovered from the Ireland of New Jersey USA, 5million Euros again recovered from the Abacha loot and lately N4, 217million Pounds was received from the Ibori loot from United Kingdom.
The AGF hinted that all these funds had been deposited at the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN recovery accounts adding that there are different such accounts namely which include asset Recovery, Interim Forfeiture and Final Forfeiture for EFCC and ICPC.
On what the recovered funds had been used for as queried by some other lawmakers in the probe panel, Malami said it had formed part of the budget of the government used to finance the Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Kaduna expressway road projects as well as the 2nd Niger Bridge.
The chairman of the committee, Mr Adejoro Adeogun who expressed dissatisfaction with some of the presentation of the Attorney general, demanded another closed-door session with the AGF on Friday.