By Williams Anuku, Abuja
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, appraised his anti-corruption policy and said he has been able to tame the menace to a manageable level.
The president said one of those strategies he employs is that once the court strips any person of assets illegally acquired, he orders the sale of such assets to prevent a situation where they later repossess them.
While hosting members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) at State House, Abuja, he explained that the proceeds from the sales are then remitted into the Treasury Single Account, where it will be practically impossible to reclaim.
Buhari gave this account, while recalling his experience in the past, in which assets seized from officials who couldn’t explain how they got them, “only for those assets to be returned to them when government changes hand”.
“Such things would hardly recur now because I gave instructions that all forfeited assets be sold, “and the money put in the Treasury Single Account.”
“Let’s see who will now take back the money from the treasury, and give back to those people, as was done in the past,” the President stressed.
The President equally said he would beam the searchlight on cost of governance, and weed out possible areas of corruption that exists anywhere.
He lauded members of the committee for the “major sacrifice “they’ve made in accepting the assignment to serve the country,” noting, “Some of the elite won’t trust you, and you will be alienated, no matter how close you are to them.”
Chairman of PACAC, Professor Itse Sagay, who led the delegation to the Villa, made some recommendations which he adviced the presidency to look into.
He described Nigeria as being fortunate to have a person of President Buhari’s credentials as leader of government.
“We congratulate you for being a star of the anti-corruption struggle in Africa. You attach a lot of importance to the fight against corruption, and we have tried to achieve the aims you had in mind when you established PACAC,” Prof Sagay added.
He listed the achievements of the committee to include training, building capacity of anti-corruption agencies, as well as helping to develop a programme of non-conviction assets recovery, which is recording great successes.
Among recommendations PACAC made to the President, in order to move the anti-corruption war many steps forward, includes, reestablishment of the jury system for criminal cases in the country; setting up of a judicial commission on corruption in the judiciary, to be headed by retired judges under the auspices of National Judicial Council (NJC); passage of Proceeds of Crime Act by the National Assembly; the setting up of a Presidential Truth and Restitution Task Force; and a closer look at the cost of governance to weed out all vestiges of corruption.
President Buhari pledged that government would take a dispassionate look into all the requests.