Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay on Thursday October 10, announced that they have recovered over N1 trillion in the fight against corruption, home and abroad.
Speaking to newsmen at the state house in Abuja after a meeting with President Buhari, the PACAC Chairman promised to recover N5 trillion government funds in the hands of big time delinquent borrowers.
Asides ploughing back the recovered looted funds into the national budget, Prof. Itse Sagay said the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) are being funded with recovered loots.
“I think the money so far recovered is roughly almost about N1 trillion. You (can) see that in 2017, N500 billion was spent on this Social Investment Programme and in 2018 the same amount (was budgeted) for the programme.
“So, it must be roughly about N1 trillion although we also have monies that were recovered from abroad and being ploughed back into the same system.” he said
He also said the the President Buhari-led administration has reduced corruption and has also stopped the N400 billion yearly loss to fake fuel subsidy.
“In the area of recoveries, I don’t need to tell anybody, it is unprecedented in the annals of this country that we could be recovering so much assets illegally acquired mainly by public servants but not only by public servants.
“And the more remarkable aspect of it is that this recovered loot is being ploughed into the national budget every year. It is ploughed back into the national budget and used for the Social Investment Programme (SIP).
“So, when you hear about feeding of over 12 million school children as at when I checked last having nutritious meal every day, you hear of poor families being supported to survive and stand on their feet or over 500,000 young people who are being trained in all sorts of skills and paid N30,000 a month by the government and the interest free loans given to small scale businesses all over the country.
“It’s all part of this money, not a kobo of it is left, everything is ploughed back and I think the country should know that, it’s very unprecedented, this never happened before in the history of this country, everything is ploughed back.
“Then, we have succeeded in improving the quality of prosecution by giving the anti-corruption agencies a lot of capacity building, train them in the manner cases should be prosecuted and how charges should be drawn. Judges up to the Supreme Court have also benefitted from this programme.” he said
Sagay added: “In the area of corruption, you will be surprised if you think back that nobody talks about fuel subsidy corruption anymore. Previously we were losing almost N400 billion every year on fake fuel subsidy payments but now, it is zero.
“So, generally, the tone of the country has improved. The country has gained tremendously, corruption has gone down. There is still corruption but it has gone down and anybody who indulges, particularly an officer of a state who engages in it, knows the risk he is taking.
“We have the TSA, we have the bank verification number, all those things have made an incredible change in our level of anti-corruption.
“Now you cannot hide money in the banks anymore and agencies cannot hide money in various banks accounts which they spend without the knowledge of the government. Everything is in one place, everything is transparent, thanks to this government.” he stated
Commending the ninth senate, Prof Itse Sagay alleged that the eight senate frustrated the fight against corruption.
“The issue of corruption fighting back, that is to be expected but I am happy to say that the capacity of corruption to fight back has been reduced with the expiration of the life of Eight Assembly because that is where the main opposition to this government was constituted, main opposition to the fight against corruption, that was the centre and at that time, it did not depend on which party they belonged to, they all ganged up together against the anti-corruption fight and did everything they could to frustrate the government and ourselves in the this fight.
“Luckily, the Ninth Assembly is a totally different Assembly. It is an assembly that is determined to work hand in hand with the government and therefore with us in achieving the highest level of no corruption in the society.” he said.
“When you have a disease that has been alive maybe 50 years, you cannot get rid of it overnight. My own personal experience about corruption, it exists at every level, that is the frightening aspect, through all sectors of society.
“As a lawyer going to court to file a paper, every official of the court imposes a personal tax which has nothing to do with the official filing fees to do his job. These are clerical officers and much lower people and this pervades all aspects of Nigerian society
“So, corruption has become a culture, some people are corrupt without even thinking that they are corrupt, it is part of them. They think it is an entitlement” he added.