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Friday, June 30, 2017

Why recovering stolen funds is difficult –Osinbajo

Why recovering stolen funds is difficult --Osinbajo

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has described efforts to recover stolen funds as a very difficult one. He added that it was easier preventing corruption than curing it. ”You need to engage forensic consultants and hire other experts; even then, you will only have some hope of recovering some of what has been lost,’’ he said.
Osinbajo stated this in Lagos during the 5th Annual Christopher Kolade Lecture on Business Integrity, entitled “Prevention is better than cure even on the issue of corruption’’.
The lecture was put together by the Integrity Organisation Ltd., an anti-corruption, research and advocacy organisation for Dr. Kolade, a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Osinbajo said, “Many countries are reluctant to return proceeds of corruption by introducing legal obstacles of different kinds to ensure that we do not get back the money.

”There is a long list of “what if’’ – what if we were able to do something or invest even half of that money in economic or infrastructure projects before it disappeared?  ”If some of that money went into boosting our reserves, our exchange rate will not be where it is today; so there lies evidence that corruption is cheaper to prevent than to cure.
”In our investigations into Defence spending, we discovered 15 billion dollars unaccounted for, with no guarantee that we will ever be able to recover it. You can imagine the damage done by that corrupt act.’’ Urging Nigerians to desist from corrupt practices Osinbajo added, “Corruption is the robbery of the wealth of the nation, and thieves exist in every tribe or religion.’’
He then vowed that the Federal Government would continually seek ways to make it harder for government funds to be stolen or diverted. He said, ”President Muhammadu Buhari issued an order mandating immediate compliance to the Treasury Single Account system to simplify government accounting to provide a clear picture of what is coming in and going out. “Over 20, 000 bank accounts have been closed since the presidential order. ”Another example is the bank verification numbers which modified application to the federal payroll; we have been able to uncover more than 60,000 cases of ghost workers.
”Another important measure is getting all our armed forces personnel on the electronic human resource payroll to prevent scams in the service”, he added.

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