Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to beam his administration’s searchlight on the cost of governance and root out any possible corruption that exists.
He made the vow Thursday when he hosted members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) at State House, Abuja.
According to the President, the routine practice where suspicious assets seized from government officials are returned to them once a new government is in office will be stopped, disclosing that he has given instructions that all such forfeited assets be sold and the proceeds deposited into the federal Treasury Single Account.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari, who appreciated members of the Committee for the “major sacrifice they’ve made in accepting the assignment to serve the country,” noted that, “some of the elite won’t trust you, and you will be alienated, no matter how close you are to them.”
Speaking more on seized assets, the President said: “Let’s see who will now take back the money from the Treasury and give back to those people as was done in the past.”
PACAC Chairman Professor Itse Sagay, who led the visiting delegation, commended the President “for being a star of the anti-corruption struggle in Africa. You attach a lot of importance to the fight against corruption, and we have tried to achieve the aims you had in mind when you established PACAC.”
Sagay said the committee trains and builds capacity of anti-corruption agencies, and has helped to develop a programme of non-conviction assets recovery, which, according to him, is recording great successes.
PACAC made certain recommendations to the President, stating that “in order to move the anti-corruption war many steps forward. They include, reestablishment of the jury system for criminal cases in the country; setting up of a judicial commission on corruption in the judiciary, to be headed by retired judges under the auspices of National Judicial Council (NJC); passage of Proceeds of Crime Act by the National Assembly; the setting up of a Presidential Truth and Restitution Task Force; and a closer look at the cost of governance to weed out all vestiges of corruption.”
President Buhari pledged that his government would take a dispassionate look into all the requests.