The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) has said that the fight against corruption under President Muhammadu Buhari has led to a total recovery of about N1 trillion, stating that the recoveries have been recycled into the national budgets. Speaking yesterday while briefing the media on the achievements of the committee, the chairman of the committee, Prof. Itse Sagay, said the fight against corruption in the country is both sweet and sour, adding that, while some milestones have been reached, there is a lot of work still to be done to rid Nigeria of corruption. According to Sagay, the recovered N1 billion stolen funds by anti-graft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), is a sign that the strategy on Non-Conviction Based Asset Recovery has been amazing.
He said: “Total recoveries are hovering around the N1 trillion mark, and even more remarkably these recoveries have been recycled into the budget to uplift the oppressed and most vulnerable victims of corruption, namely, the young unemployed youths, young school children, who can now enjoy one free nutritional meal a day at school, extremely poor families who now receive the conditional cash transfer of N5,000 a month and women, youths, farmers, etc., who now receive interest-free loans to capitalize their small scale businesses.
“So the recovered loot is pumped back into the lives of the most vulnerable Nigerians, in order to transform them into proud productive Nigerians, who will end up as employers themselves, contributing to the development of Nigeria.” Sagay, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) further stated that the advisory role of the PACAC has led to a “sharp uptake” in the achievements of anti-graft agencies, with the EFCC securing 3,000 convictions for corruption, including highprofile politicians, in the last six years. He added that the ICPC between 2019 and July 2020, has investigated and seen to the return of about 300 companies, contractors and project sponsors who abandoned, diverted or under-delivered on approvedandfundedprojects under zonal intervention projects (ZIPs).
“Over 2,000 companies were brought into the tax net by ICPC profiling companies under investigation. This has significantly improved the government’s tax revenue in collaboration with FIRS,” he said. Sagay said very little was known about illicit financial flows (IFF) in Nigeria until PACAC brought it to the centre stage nationally and internationally.
Listing other forms of financial crimes by public officials in Nigeria, Sagay said they are, over-invoicing of external expenses; underreporting of resources obtained from the developing countries; tax evasion; under declaration of profits; and outsourcing of what could be done within the victim country. “The massive losses underdeveloped countries like Nigeria are experiencing as a result of IFFs were recently documented and published by Global Financial Integrity. According to its report, Nigeria lost $83 billion in the period 1960 – 2011 and currently, it is losing more than $45 billion annually. “Therefore, the importance of concentrating our minds on IFFs, as PACAC did for two consecutive years, through major international conferences and other strategic engagements, cannot be overstated,” Sagay said.