By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, Wednesday inaugurated a Presidential Committee to audit all recovered looted funds in the country, declaring that never again would wanton embezzlement and diversion of funds be allowed in the country.
Inaugurating the Audit Committee at the First Lady’s Conference room, Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari said his decision to inaugurate the Committee on the Recovery and management of stolen assets within and outside Nigeria was the next step in ensuring that all returns filed by the various agencies were accurate and consistent with actual recoveries made.
He said the Committee was expected to judiciously undertake an audit of all recovery accounts established by government agencies from the date of opening such accounts up to 10th April, 2017.
President Buhari, who noted that the details of the Committee’s functions were contained in the terms of reference stated that it was the resolve of his administration from the onset to pursue a strong and effective anti-corruption regime.
He said in view of the multiple cases of mis-managed and misappropriated national assets identified by the administration upon assumption of office, the Federal Government embarked on tracing and recovering of all such stolen assets within and outside Nigeria using all legal and diplomatic resources at its disposal.
According to him: “The gains of our initiatives over the past two and a half years have been very obvious to all Nigerians. This is clear from the level of investigation, prosecution and forfeitures involving both public and private sector officials in the country. The message has therefore been passed loud and clear that never again as a nation are we going to allow the wanton diversion and embezzlement of public funds to private pockets. Nigerians will further recall that pursuant to requisite directives, recovered assets are progressively being returned to designated accounts by the anti-graft agencies and other agencies of government involved with the process.
“In the course of implementing this exercise and given the number of agencies concurrently pursuing specialized initiatives and making recoveries for government, it has become obvious that fundamental gaps still exist in ensuring that the recovered assets are accounted for, and managed in an accurate, transparent and logical manner.”
President Buhari further stated that it was in realization of that and his determination to
ensure that in pursuing the anti-graft war, “we do not create new room for dishonorable conduct by any individual or agency that I directed, earlier in the year, that all agencies should send in detailed reports of all their recovered assets as at March, 2017.”
On the reason for the audit committee, he said: “The decision to inaugurate this Audit Committee on the Recovery and Management of Stolen Assets within and Outside Nigeria today is therefore the next step in ensuring that all returns filed by the various agencies are accurate and consistent with actual recoveries made.
‘’The Committee, in essence, is therefore expected to judiciously undertake an audit of all recovery accounts established by government agencies from the date of opening such accounts up to 10th April, 2017. The details of the Committee’s functions are as set out in your Terms of Reference.”
The President congratulated all members of the committee on their appointment which he said was another opportunity for them to serve the country, urging them to carry out their duties diligently in the best interests of Nigeria.
He directed all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, banks, and Companies to give the Committee full cooperation, stressing that their assignment was crucial to the harvesting of needed resources for national development.
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