PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to put in place measures to check embezzlement and diversion of recovered assets.
He gave the assurance while inaugurating the Audit Committee on the Recovery and Management of Stolen Assets within and outside Nigeria at the First Lady Conference room in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Stressing that recovered assets must be accounted for, he directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and corporate bodies to give the committee the necessary support.
The committee, which has three members including Mr. Olufemi Lijadu, Mrs. Gloria Chinyere Bibigha and Mr. Mohammed Nami, was given one month to carry out its assignment.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting started immediately after the inauguration ended, with one-minute silence observed for the late former Vice President Alex Ekwueme.
Buhari said: “Members of the committee may recall that pursuant to the resolve of this administration since its inception to pursue a strong and effective anti-corruption regime, and in view of the multiple cases of mismanaged and misappropriated national assets identified by this administration upon our assumption of office, the Federal Government embarked on tracing and recovery of all such stolen assets within and outside Nigeria, using all legal and diplomatic resources at our disposal.
“The gains of our initiatives over the past two and a half years have been very obvious to all Nigerians. This is clear from the level of investigation, prosecution and forfeitures involving both public and private sector officials in the country.
“The message has, therefore, been passed loud and clear that never again as a nation are we going to allow the wanton diversion and embezzlement of public funds to private pockets.
“Nigerians will further recall that pursuant to requisite directives, recovered assets are progressively being returned to designated accounts by the anti-graft agencies and other agencies of government involved with the process.”
The President added it was in realisation of this and due to his administration’s determination to ensure that in pursuing the anti-graft war, “we do not create new room for dishonorable conduct by any individual or agency that I directed, earlier in the year, that all agencies should send in detailed reports of all their recovered assets as at March, 2017”.
Buhari added that the decision to inaugurate the audit committee was the next step in ensuring that all returns filed by the various agencies were accurate and consistent with actual recoveries made.
He said the committee is expected to judiciously undertake an audit of all recovery accounts established by government agencies from the date of opening such accounts up to April 10, 2017.