It was gathered that the Federal Government has set up an inter-agency Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery as part of its efforts to strengthen the ongoing fight against corruption, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said.
Speaking while receiving the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, who paid him a courtesy visit on Friday in Abuja, the Minister also called for the support of the UN in fighting corruption, which he said is as dangerous and devastating as the fight against insecurity.
Mohammed disclosed that the PCAR, which was set up on the recommendation of the Presidential Advisory Council Against Corruption, will over-sight the anti-corruption agenda and coordinate asset recovery process.
Alhaji Mohammed said the PCAR, which is headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is coordinating the collation and categorization of recovered assets from 2015 to 2016, verifying the records and status of physical assets such as buildings recovered under previous administration and setting up the framework for Management of Recovered Stolen Asset to avoid re-looting and mismanagement of asset as was experienced in the past.
He said the creation of asset register for recovered stolen assets and other government assets to avoid a situation where former or even serving public officers carry away government assets like vehicles and computers sometimes in multiples is also part of the mandate of the committee.
The Minister said the Federal Government is determined to recover all assets illicitly acquired by public officers and other politically exposed persons, hence new measures are underway to enhance recovery of illegally acquired assets and these will be announced from time to time.
To encourage whistle-blowers, the government is also considering an incentive framework for those who provide useful information that lead to recovery of stolen or illegally concealed public assets, he said, adding that the government is also soliciting the support of Nigerians in diaspora and international NGOs in the campaign for asset return from foreign governments.
Mohammed said Nigeria remained determined and focused in stemming corruption, which is part of the reasons that Nigeria is suffering from economic recession.
“Just as you (UN) have supported us in the fight against insecurity in the North East, we need your institutional, technical and diplomatic support in fighting corruption,” Alhaji Mohammed told the visiting UN official.