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Group asks Buhari to extend audit of recovered loot to all past governments

By Bertram Nwannekanma (Lagos), Michael Egbejule (Benin City) and Cornelius Essen (Abuja)
11 December 2017   |   4:18 am
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the audit of recovered loot...

President Muhammadu Buhari

• ANEEJ decries slow process of assets recovery
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the audit of recovered loot to the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.

SERAP made the call in a letter to the president following Buhari’s inauguration of the Audit Committee on the Recovery and Management of Stolen Assets.

The group welcomed the inauguration of the Audit Committee as a partial fulfillment of the judgment by Justice Mohamamed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos.

It requested the president to strengthen and extend the mandate of the committee to cover the periods starting from the return of democracy in 1999, as ordered by the court.”

The audit committee established last month to undertake an audit of all recovery accounts established by government agencies has four weeks to submit its report.

SERAP in the letter dated December 9, 2017 and signed by its executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni, urged Buhari to strengthen the committee’s capacity and extend the four weeks deadline within which it is expected to submit its report to six months so that the committee could effectively document the details of information ordered by Justice Idris.

The group also urged Buhari to work with the leadership of the National Assembly to promote and encourage the urgent passage of the Proceeds of Crimes Bill, to ensure sustainability and transparency in the management of assets as well as   encourage and facilitate civil society participation in the work of the audit committee.

It also called for the publication of the committee report and if it establishes any admissible evidence that some of the recovered assets have been re-stolen, refer such cases to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for further investigation and prosecution.

Meanwhile, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) urged stakeholders in the anti-corruption campaign to continually apply pressure on countries holding on to the nation’s stolen wealth to return them.