The Federal Government has given an insight into how preventive measures adopted to check corruption and manage recovered stolen assets had brought about the repatriation of some stolen funds stashed away overseas.

Such funds included the $322.515 million in Switzerland, $311.7 million in the United States, €5.4 million Euros in Northern Ireland, €4,214,017.66 in the United Kingdom and another $200 million.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, according to a statement issued on Tuesday by his Special Assistant (Media and Public Relations), Dr. Umar Gwandu, stated these during the 2021 annual public lecture in New York organised by the Centre for Media and Peace Initiative, New York, United States of America, Monday.

According to him, being an Africa Union Champion in the fight against corruption, President Muhammadu Buhari, has endeavoured under his regime to fight corruption in all its ramifications through legislative framework.

He said that outstanding successes recorded by the regime in international asset recovery could be a template for other African countries in the fight against graft.

Malami said, “Various steps have been taken in terms of legislative frameworks, establishment of institutions and policy measures targeted at combatting corruption, regional cooperation and ensuring good governance for the benefit of citizens.

“In 2017, the signing of a trilateral agreement with Switzerland and the World Bank enabled the recovery of $322.515 million.

“In 2020, a total sum of $311.7 million was returned to Nigeria after signing another trilateral agreement with the U.S.A and Bailiwick of Jersey.

“Also in the year 2020, 5.4 million Euros was recovered in March emanating from an agreement signed with Northern Island.

“The Federal Government was able to recover from the UK the sum of €4,214,017.66 connected to the family of James Ibori.

“Additional recoveries to the tune of $200 million are being anticipated subject to the settlement of litigation of which the Ministry of Justice is attending to presently.”

Malami said the present regime was able to achieve the successes due to political will, funding, legislation, institutional support, and Executive Orders by President Buhari.

“The Buhari’s approach to fight against corruption has been one of three cardinal pillars of our campaign promises, the others are economic and security development”, the minister said.

He stressed that Nigeria had taken anti-corruption measures in tackling cybercrime, money laundering, oil bunkering and false assets declaration among others.

The AGF said that the Federal Government had developed the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and guidelines for smooth implementation of the strategy which has five pillars of prevention of corruption, public engagement, ethical re-orientation, enforcement and sanction, and recovery and management of proceeds of crime.

“I am pleased to inform this gathering that the Federal Government of Nigeria has recovered funds from corporate bodies and individuals through the combined efforts of the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and our law enforcement agencies through local and international collaboration with international community and adoption of strategies put in place”, he said.

The minister said that former state governors, senators and ministers including some members of the ruling All Progressives Congress were not spared in the fight against corruption.

“Currently, high profile personalities including judicial officers and former governors indicted for corruption have been or are being prosecuted. We have some former top government officials convicted and serving various jailterms for corruption-related crimes while in office”, he said.

While arguing that the stance of Nigeria in the anti-corruption struggle has been adjudged to be recording tremendous success, Malami said that the position was upheld by credible International organisations including the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes.

The minister said the consequential effects of the approach of the Buhari regime in the fight against corruption was reflective in the UNODC 2019 corruption survey report titled: “Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and trends.”

He said the report alluded to a decrease in bribery which was the bedrock of corruption and also established Nigeria’s leadership in the fight against corruption.

The statement also quoted the 2019 UNODC report that “the efforts made to prevent and counter corruption in its various manifestations have earned Mr. President the role of the African Union’s anti-corruption champion. This survey is yet another example of Nigeria’s leadership in the fight against corruption and is testimony to the seriousness of purpose of the government’s anti-corruption agenda.”

Malami therefore called on Africans in both public and private sectors to aspire from the inspiration and understand that integrity pays above acquiring illegal monies from corrupt practices.

“I hereby reiterate Nigeria’s call for a strong institutionalised body that could join forces together with African countries to fight corruption. Collaboration in support for institutions, development of international and regional strategies and guidelines will go a long way in addressing the menace of corruption”, he said.

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