Please release names of looters – SERAP tells FG why publication of recoveries not enough

SERAP, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has welcomed publication of the list of recovered funds by the Federal Government as a positive development towards entrenching a culture of transparency and accountability in government.

Buhari-addressing-ministers

The organization, however, asked the government to “publish the names of high-ranking public officials from whom the public funds were recovered, and spend recovered funds in a transparent and accountable manner so as to remove opportunities for re-looting recovered loot.”

In a statement on Sunday by SERAP executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni the organization said, “The recovered funds must be spent to directly benefit Nigeria’s most vulnerable populations particularly to improve their access to quality education, healthcare including for children, women and the elderly, and regular and uninterrupted electricity supply. It will be a double jeopardy for victims of corruption if recovered funds are re-looted, as it was the case with Sani Abacha recovered loot.”

“This is a case of grand corruption, which has devastated many lives and fundamentally contrasts with the ideal of government as a public trust.

“Therefore, high-ranking government officials suspected of turning the public treasury into a private cashbox should be prepared to accept a higher degree of openness about their official conduct than private individuals.

“Publishing the names of high-ranking government officials that have already returned stolen public funds will not infringe their right to presumption of innocence in particular and fair trial in general if the government can provide a caveat to make it clear that such disclosure does not suggest an assessment of the guilt of those named, and that they remain suspects until proven guilty by a competent judicial authority.

“The authorities responsible for combating corruption cannot be expected to refrain from all statements, such as the fact that a suspicion of corruption exists. What is excluded is however a formal declaration that somebody is guilty without trial before a court of law.

“The fact that suspected corrupt officials have returned some public funds makes the argument in favour of publishing their names even stronger. Open justice promotes the rule of law and publicity is a powerful deterrent to abuse of power and official misconduct.

“Nigerians have the right to know how high-ranking government officials carry out their entrusted public functions and manage the public treasury, and whether or not they act in accordance with the code of conduct which Nigerians expect from their leaders.

“The government must now move swiftly to complete all pending investigations of corruption and to pursue diligently those cases in court, and to consistently utilise the crime of illicit enrichment (also called: unexplained wealth or inexplicable wealth or disproportionate wealth) to achieve effective prosecution of corruption cases.

“The government should compile a list of corruption cases in court and cases already completed with names and the amounts involved, and widely publish this including on a dedicated website to promote the idea of open justice.

“A naming and shaming policy already exists in the international arena, for example, the FATF usually adopt a sanctions regime of ‘naming and shaming,’ against Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) in its battle against money laundering.

“In addition, SERAP urges President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a mechanism with a view to ensuring that the funds so far recovered are applied in a transparent and accountable manner, and with civil society involvement and oversight.”

Details of the recoveries, published by the Federal Ministry of Information, showed that the Nigerian government successfully retrieved total cash amount N78,325,354,631.82, $185,119,584.61, £3,508,355.46 and €11, 250 between May 29, 2015 and May 25, 2016.

Also released were recoveries under interim forfeiture, which were a combination of cash and assets, during the same period: N126,563,481,095.43, $9,090,243,920.15, £2,484,447.55 and €303,399.17.

Anticipated repatriation from foreign countries totalled: $321,316,726.1, £6,900,000 and €11,826.11.

239 non-caah recoveries were made during the one-year period.

The non-cash recoveries are – farmlands, plots of land, uncompleted buildings, completed buildings, vehicles and maritime vessels.

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8 Comments

  1. Mr. President is himself a deceitful and scientifically corrupt person who did not also keep his promise to publicly declare his assets by publishing the contents of his assets declaration form… only an undiscerning would’ve expected him to keep his returned loot promise. The only logical reason for not naming thieves is because he has surrounded himself with the same thieves he’s supposed to be catching and jailing.

    • You mean “Fantastically corrupt” Remember those people used him to win the election.
      NIGERIANS must be awake here.
      BUHARI is caving in to these crooks and he is not doing what he promised because he feared TINUBU and company will not re-nominate him for second term.

  2. Senseless, even if names are published what will it change. Even the Dasukigate looters whom are known to everybody to have returned some amount of money, what have you people done about that. You ungrateful bunch, for the last PDP government how many kobos have ever been recovered, you want names. Sorry for you all.

  3. President Buhari, you are on the Driver’s seat now, and you have opened your mouth and promised the whole country about this names of our Treasury looter, dont let anyone canvas you or entered into your head that this will do this or that, keep to your word and dont forget that the whole world is looking at you and your word!!!!!!! War against corruption!!!! you have already showed Nigerians that you dont fear no one by your words during your swearing inn, that you are for no body and you are for everybody hunnnnn !!!!!!!!!!! the world is looking at you and waiting for the out-come .

  4. I want to believe a lot of looters are busy posting comments on this platform.Why must the president be pilloried for even virtue related initiatives.
    SERAP has done well by acknowledging the commendable strides of this administration in the humongous
    recovery never witnessed under Pdp contraption yet people are posting sarcastic comments.
    The government is weighing it’s options based on legal corollaries.
    SERAP has provided some legal prognosis which is within the discretion of government to either pursue or defer.

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