The Federal Government is set to to repatriate more loot kept in foreign countries by corrupt Nigerians this year.
The government said it was expecting the recovery of €6.3m from Ireland, $600m from the United Kingdom and £321m from Switzerland in 2017 alone.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to defend the ministry’s budget estimates for 2017, on Thursday evening.
Malami lamented that the absence of provision for the capital expenditure of the ministry in the 2016 Appropriation Act “greatly limited the ministry’s ability to make extensive recoveries.
He said, “Our budgetary proposal of N18, 528,093,480.00 was not appropriated, thereby compelling the ministry to operate on a zero capital budget.
“We have a lot of international recovery that are supposed to be captured in jurisdictions like the United States of America, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Panama, among others. Significant amounts of money are there (in those places) also.
“In Ireland, we are expecting about €6.3m any moment from now. The process for the repatriation of that money has reached an advanced stage. We are also expecting about $600m recovery from the UK.
“All the pending litigation were substantially consolidated and we are adopting a composite settlement arrangement to displace any possibility of any jurisdiction hanging on to any litigation which could slow down the process of repatriation.
“In New Jersey, we recently obtained a ruling to allow Nigeria initiate the process of repatriating certain loot that is there. In the UK, we have signed numerous memoranda of understanding between the two nations for the repatriation of sizeable funds.
“In Switzerland too, we have executed a memorandum of understanding that will pave the way for the repatriation of about £321m. These recovery are happening on a daily basis and we are engaging the international community in the process.
“What I am trying to say is that the limitations placed on us in 2016 led to zero budget for capital (expenditure) and that seriously hindered our ability to make aggressive recovery at the international level.”
The AGF further added that, locally, the government recovered N57.9bn and $666.676 last year.
According to the minister, N50bn was the fine paid by MTN Nigeria; N7bn and $10m were recovery from suspects’ private residences; while some looters separately returned N40m and N50m.
“The sum of $250m under interim forfeiture being alleged proceeds of oil bunkering, $136.676m awaiting actual remittance, and $270m as Federal Government funds recovered from commercial banks.”
Malami, however, stated that he was happy that his ministry recorded “modest achievements in the act of contributing to the revenue generation of the Federal Government notwithstanding the zero capital budgets.”
On the 2017 budget of the ministry, Malami noted that the ministry’s budgetary allocation received a boost, compared to the 2016 appropriation.
The ministry proposed a budget of N6.9bn, as against the N3, 921,612,815 in 2016. From the sum of N6,914,774,768, personnel costs will take N4,278,824,404; legal services, N1,000,006,899; overhead, N946,834,670; and the least capital budget of N689,108,794.