N2bn Recovery Funds: Malami Borrowing Without Budgetary Approval Says Reps

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The House of Representatives ad hoc Committee on assessment and status of all recovered loots, and immovable assets from 2002 to 2020 on Tuesday accused the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, of borrowing the sum of N2billion assets recovery funds without budgetary approval.

The Committee chaired by Adejoro Adeogun (APC, Ondo) also frowned at the reckless utilization of the recovered looted funds as it lambasted the AGF of lending huge sums of money to the government agencies without due process.

The following observations were raised at the resumed hearing of the investigative hearing of the aforementioned Committee when it engaged the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF).

Meanwhile, the Committee also queried the disappearance of the €5 million recovered looted funds, saying it did not reflect in the AGF account.

Similarly, the Committee further fingered the National Security Adviser’s office of keeping a separate recovered loots account to the tune of $6.21billion as against the constitutional provision.

However, Malami who obviously got agitated by the series of questions thrown at him by members of the panel during the hearing denied any wrong doing and insisted the money collected by his office went through due process.

 

According to him, “The office of the Attorney General had never at anytime received funds or a penny from the recovered assets account.

“The money you (Committee) are referring to was dully approved for by the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant General’s office through budgetary provision to pay solicitors and other activities”.

Furthermore, the Committee tackled the AGF for opening separate accounts for recovered looted funds besides the four accounts he mentioned during his submission.

 

In his explaination the AGF said, “We opened the accounts, we run the accounts, we are custodian of the accounts but only Mr. President has the absolute powers to direct on the expenditure of the accounts. All the accounts are linked to TSA.”

He continued, “There are four recovery accounts but in addition we also have dollars accounts, pounds, and Euro accounts. Main Assets account, final forfeiture account, interim account. For guidance of the Committee, the list is attached to my documents which I have submitted to the committee.

“By tomorrow, we would be able to give you update on who spent what and on what. I insist, we would make available our response tomorrow”.

Although the Committee sharply disagreed with the AGF and accused him of hoarding information from the Committee as a member of the Committee moved for a motion in that regard but it was stepped down at the plea of the chairman, Mr. Adejoro Adeogun.

The Chairman in his closing remarks appealed: “I will appeal that hence the Accountant General is requesting for more time, let’s give him more time”.

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