THE House of Representatives yesterday mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to carry out a comprehensive investigation into looted public funds and assets recovered from 1999 till date, estimated at $2 trillion.
The House also directed its Committee on Financial Crimes to investigate whether crime has been committed in the course of the management and disbursement of funds recovered by the Federal Government in the last 12 years.
The House resolution was sequel to a motion sponsored by Segun Adekola, who alerted members on the recent statement by the Minister of Justice and Attorney- General of the Federation, that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has, so far, recovered more than $2 trillion (over N400 trillion at the current rate) looted from the national treasury, in its 12 years of existence.
He said it had become imperative for a proper investigation to be carried out on recovered funds that were fraudulently sent out of the country by corrupt government officials, even as recoveries were also made by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Department of State Services (DSS).
The lawmaker, who wondered how “the huge amounts of money returned by those who, at various times, entered into plea-bargain with the EFCC” were managed, stressed the need to look into the present government’s assertion that some former officials of the Jonathan Administration have been returning unspecified sums to the treasury.
He said: “For many years now, successive governments have continued to take possession of billions of dollars of looted public funds returned from various parts of the world, with Switzerland returning a higher percentage of the amounts.
“But there is the persistent confusion as to the exact amount that had been recovered, and what happened to it.
“It is also of concern that successive governments have not been transparent regarding their management or spending of recovered public assets, giving vent to the allegations that some of the recovered funds may have been spent, mismanaged or simply disappeared.”