From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government revealed, yesterday, that $1 billion has been recovered under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who briefed State House Correspondents on the outcomes of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the recovered assets has been deployed to various sectors of the economy including poverty alleviation.
He disclosed that Federal Government had recorded only 109 convictions before 2015, while the Buhari administration convicted over 3,000 offender and recovered about $1 billion to date.
He said FEC approved validation extension of the Anti-corruption Strategy Document 2022 to 2026. A new policy which resulted from cooperation amongst Justice to strengthen anti-graft fight in the country.
He said the approval was granted following the presentation of a memorandum to the council to that effect.
“Today, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation presented a council memo, seeking approval for the validation, adoption and extension of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Document from 2022 to 2026.
“I am happy to report that the memo was taken, deliberated upon and eventually approved by the council.
“The implication of which is that we now have in place a new anti-corruption strategy policy document which is a product of collaboration among the justice sector and law enforcement agencies.”
Responding to a question on budget padding, he expressed disappointments with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) involved and stated that the Federal Government was studying the revelations and would do what was necessary to address it.
“Whichever way one looks at it, budget padding is bad, because if you budget N5 billion for road and N3 billion of that fund is diverted, it means 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.”
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, had blamed the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, for adding N206 billion to the humanitarian ministry’s budget.
While appearing before the Senate Committee on Special Duties on Monday to defend the 2023 budget, Farouq claimed that the ministry 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 the 2023 budget of the ministry.
Minister of Defence, Maj. Gen Bashir Magashi (retd) had also told the senate that Ahmed inserted N11 billion into its 2023 budget.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, also accused the finance minister of budget padding.