From NDUKAIHE UGWU, Abuja
The federal government has so far recovered over N800b from looters and secured 1,400 convictions, in its anti-corruption war, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has said.
In a press briefing on corruption allegations in Abuja, the FCT, yesterday, Mohammed reiterated that the fight against corruption was not just about loot recovery or convictions but also about putting in place enduring institutional reforms that would deter acts of corruption going forward.
“This Administration’s fight against corruption is as strong as ever, and we have the records to back up this claim,” he said, adding, “(but) remember, gentlemen, that the fight against corruption is not about loot recovery or convictions alone; (it’s also about) putting in place enduring institutional reforms that will deter acts of corruption.”
Emphasizing, that the current Administration has, however, recorded over 1,400 convictions, “including high profile ones, and recovered funds in excess of 800 billion Naira, not to talk of forfeiture of ill-gotten properties,” Mohammed pointed out that the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) is one of the institutional frameworks the government has put in place to tackle corruption.
Others are “the Whistle-blower Policy, the expansion of the coverage of the Integrated Payroll Personnel and Information System as well as the Government Integrated Management Information System and the Open Government Partnership and Transparency Portal on Financial Transactions, among others,” he said.
The Minister continued: “Let me also mention the ICPC’s Constituency and Executive Projects Tracking Group, aimed at tracking performance of publicly-funded projects, and the Commission’s escalation of the use of administrative sanctions in the public service by periodically submitting, for sanction, names of public servants who are being prosecuted. There is also the review of the personnel and capital fund expenditure of MDAs.”
Mohammed spoke against the backdrop of allegations of monumental corruption which have rocked a number of government agencies in recent time, including the NDDC, NSITF and the anti-corruption agency, EFCC.
According to him, while the allegations of corruption in NDDC are not new, what is new is the speed at, and seriousness with, which the Buhari Administration has tackled and is still tackling them.
He pooh-poohed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for reportedly “celebrating the so-called waning of the Administration’s anti-corruption fight,” saying WADATA House was engaging in wishful thinking instead of looking at the full ramifications of the war.
The Minister alleged that unlike the PDP, the Buhari Administration would not cover up for anyone, “including members of our party and government who face corruption allegations.”
“Our fight against corruption is blind to party affiliation, position in government and any other consideration. If the nation’s
anti-corruption Czar can be investigated, then the fight against corruption cannot be deemed to be fake, neither can it be said to be waning,” he said.