ABUJA—Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the Federal Government can seize assets from citizens who cannot explain the source of their wealth.
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Osinbajo made this known, yesterday, while declaring the anti-corruption conference organised by the office of the vice president and Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, in Abuja.
He said: “The Supreme Court in a lead judgment of Akaahs JSC, recently held that forfeiture under Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act is a civil process, which neither requires the criminal conviction of the property owner nor his innocence.
“This opens the door for forfeiture of assets that the purported owner cannot explain, whether or not an allegation of corruption is made.”
According to him, corruption has made Nigeria’s debt and poverty figures double, in spite of the highest oil revenues in Nigeria’s history
He said the Buhari-administration was not deceived into thinking that it has won the battle against corruption as it was tackling grand corruption first.
He said: “By that, we mean the stealing of huge public resources directly from the treasury; usually at the highest levels of executive authority; and the stealing of budgeted funds through various schemes.
“We are now poised to deal with the wider problem of systemic corruption, especially where the average person interacts with government.
“Corruption in the issuance of contracts, licences and other government approvals; there is no reason any Nigerian should have to give bribe to law enforcement agents for obtaining drivers licences or passports or to clear goods at our ports.”
“All the relevant government agencies have shown a serious commitment to eradicating these forms of corruption. Our next level is to create the environment for collaboration among our agencies, civil society and other stakeholders,’’ the Vice president said.
He said the enforcement of treasury single account, TSA, the presidential initiative on continuous audit, and even ensuring that most civil servants were on the IPPIS electronic platform had helped greatly to control official theft of public funds.
In his remarks, PACAC chairman, Prof. Itse Sagay, said it was observed that information at the disposal of various intelligence units in the country was not shared in a systematic and pragmatic manner to assist the fight against corruption and other related national security threats.