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FG has recovered $1bn looted funds since 2015 –Malami

…over 3000 persons convicted for graft

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has said that the Muhammadu Buhari government has recovered about $1 billion from corrupt individuals since its inception in 2015. He stated this yesterday while briefing newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at State House.

Malami also said the Council approved a new Anti-Corruption Strategy Document (2022 to 2026) aimed at strengthening the anti-graft war. According to him, over 3,000 persons have been convicted for graft as of 2022. Speaking on the allegations of budget padding by government officials, the minister said he was disappointed with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) engaged in the alleged fraud.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and So-cial Development, Sadiya Farouq had blamed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Dr. Zainab Ahmed for adding N206 billion to her ministry’s budget.

Farouq, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Special Duties on Monday to defend her ministry’s 2023 budget, claimed that they requested some projects for the North East Development Commission and the National Social Safety Net Project in the 2022 budget, which were not released, but was surprised to see an inflated amount in her ministry’s 2023 budget. Speaking on the development, Malami said the government was studying the revelations.

He said: “Whichever way one looks at it, budget padding is bad because if you budget N5 billion for roads and N3 billion of the money is diverted it means the government has lost that money and it will take a longer period to complete the project. The government is concerned and will do what is necessary to address the issue.” The Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola said the Council approved a budget augmentation of N14 billion on the Kano Western bypass contract awarded to Dantata & Sawoe. The project was raised from N22 billion to N36.89 billion.

“The need to include a flyover and more hydronic facilities to drain water necessitated the augmentation,” the former Lagos State governor said. Fashola said the Council also approved a note on the 56-km Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, adding that: “There was a delay on the trailer parks and litigation from communities whose land was affected by the road project”.

The minister also said all diversions on the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway and Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Expressway would be removed to ensure unhindered movement of vehicles ahead of the yuletide. He further said the 2nd Niger Bridge would be partially opened to ease traffic for people travelling to the eastern part of the country.

 

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