The Muhammadu Buhari Administration has recovered about $1 billion in looted funds so far, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), said yesterday.
He said the conviction rate has risen, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) securing 3,000 in 2022.
According to him, anti-graft agencies recorded only 109 convictions within 10 years prior to 2015 when President Buhari assumed office.
“If you’re yardstick is to determine what success is in terms of conviction, we have succeeded in moving it to the next level from the point of 109 in over 10 years by previous administrations to over 3,000 within a year,” he said.
Malami briefed State House correspondents after the week’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.
He said the recovered funds had been deployed to various sectors, including poverty alleviation.
“The government has succeeded in recovering around $1 billion from its inception to date,” he said.
The minister expressed concern over cases of budget padding by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
“Whichever way one looks at it, budget padding is bad, because if you budget N5 billion for road and N3 billion of that fund is diverted, it means government has lost that money and it will take a longer period to complete the project.
“The government is concerned and will do what is necessary to address the issue,” Malami said.
The Attorney-General said FEC approved the further use of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy Document to sustain the successes so far recorded in the anti-graft campaign.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), said FEC approved a budget augmentation of N14 billion on the Kano Western bypass, awarded to Dantata and Sawo.
The road project was raised from N22 billion to 36.89 billion.
He said the contract was inherited from previous administrations but the Buhari administration was determined to complete it.
Fashola added: “The Ministry of Works and Housing presented a council memo to get approval for the augmentation of the contract price for the completion of the Kano Western bye-pass which we inherited.
“The project had essentially not been funded in previous budget years.
“We are now executing it by the Sukuk Bond. Council considered and approved the augmentation, which was for N14.095 billion.
“Some of the items covered by the augmentation include the old amount for Value Added Tax (VAT), which was increased from 5-7.5 percent.
“Others are the need to construct a flyover at Dawano International Market interchange and also the need to construct more hydraulic facilities to help drain water especially in the parts of the road that pass through the city centres and towns and the council approved this.”
The Minister added that when completed, the road will link the almost-completed Kano-Maiduguri highway.
Fashola also said the Ministry sought and got Council’s approval to use the funds approved for the construction of a trailer park along the Enugu-Port Harcourt highway, to complete the main carriage way.
“This is because of the litigation we are facing from the communities where the trailer park is to be located, whose land was acquired for the construction of the park.
“In order not to delay the completion of the main carriageway and also in order to optimise today’s pricing, we sought and got approval based on the recommendation of the Bureau for Public Procurement,” he said.