Nigeria’s Attorney General, Budget Office give contradictory figures on looted funds

Abubakar Malami
Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami PHOTO: Daily Trust

Two top officials of the federal government have provided contradictory figures on the looted funds already recovered by the federal government.

The Muhammadu Buhari administration has made the recovery of looted funds, as well as prosecution of culprits, one of the focus of its anti-corruption war.

Photo Credit: Nigerian Newspaper
Photo Credit: Nigerian Newspaper

While the Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, said in December that N72 billion had already been recovered, the Attorney-General of the Federation said on Thursday that N15 billion and $10.5 million (about N3.2 billion), making a total of N18.2 billion, had so far been recovered.

The difference between the two provided figures is over N50 billion and the larger sum was first stated, removing any possibility that the latter figure was an update on the earlier one. It is possible that the figure provided by the attorney general represents only that of the justice ministry while that of the budget office represents that of the others, or of all ministries, departments and agencies; but that distinction was not made by the officials.

Mr. Akabueze made his disclosure while answering questions at the public presentation of the 2017 budget proposals at the State House, Abuja, on December 19.

He said N72 billion of the money had already been recovered, and the targeted N258 billion would be used to partly fund the 2017 budget, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.

“We are projecting N258.6 billion looted funds to be part of the revenue to finance 2017 budget,” Mr. Akabueze said.

“Also to be included in budget financing is $320 million, which is N97.6 billion recovered Abacha loots expected from the Swiss government.

“The balance of N90 billion will be from other expected recovery loots which are now at advance stages,’’ he said.

On Thursday, Mr. Malami disclosed his figure in Abuja when the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters visited the ministry on its oversight function to appraise the 2016 budget performance of the ministry.

“Let me put it on record that the Federal Ministry of Justice has equally significantly recorded success in the recovery drive as it relates to the looted funds,” he was quoted as saying by the News Agency of Nigeria.

“In that regard and direction, over N15 billion has been recovered by the ministry and $10.5 million was equally recovered in that direction,” Mr. Malami said.

None of the two federal officials provided a detailed breakdown of the looted funds including from whom and when.

The justice minister said that exclusive of the recoveries, the revenue profile of his ministry as at December 31, 2016, was N12.4 million.

He said this was generated from sale of journals, renting of part of the headquarters building to commercial entities, use of its conference hall, tender fees and sale of un-serviceable items.

He added that the total expenditure profile of the ministry within the same period was N3.7 billion, including personnel and non-regular allowances.

The chief law officer of the country said that the ministry, by virtue of its mandate, was in a vantage position to articulate and implement the present administration’s broad policy objectives in four major priority areas.

“The anti-corruption campaign, the recovery of stolen national assets, the rule of law component of the anti-terrorism war and the institutionalisation of law and order in all aspects of national life,” he said.

On Nigeria’s non-membership of the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, Mr. Malami explained that it will take the collaboration of both the executive and the legislature to scale all the hurdles.

“Among some of the demands required to become a member are the passing of the Money Laundering Act, Proceeds of Crime Act and Autonomy of the Financial Task Force.

“All these bills are still pending before the legislature and have not been passed, so we need to work together to get Nigeria registered.’’

The Chairman of the Committee, David Umaru (APC-Niger) said the 2016 budget was fraught with challenges but noted that the ministry and its parastatals were able to make judicious use of it.

He said the committee was not oblivious of the recent economic challenges in the country and was already preparing for the 2017 budget defence.

Mr. Umaru said the committee would work in consultation with the executive, particularly the justice ministry, to ensure that the budget was passed so as to address the economic situation in the country.

He added that the committee was also working to ensure that all bills necessary to make the work of the ministry and its parastatals easier were been looked into with a view to passing them soon.

A member of the committee, Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu) decried Nigeria’s non-membership of the FATF.

According to Mr. Utazi, as a country that really wants to fight corruption, if we are on the FATF, it will help us to recover some of the stolen assets.

“Nigeria is not a member of FATF, this is a very important membership which we have not yet gotten and this can help us recover stolen assets since it is one of its core mandates.’’

He lamented that office of the attorneys-general always put in applications for membership every year but failed to follow it through.

The lawmaker said that the shuttle diplomacy Nigeria was engaging in would not yield much without a membership of the FATF as no other member would give Nigeria support unless it was registered.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that N3.9 billion was appropriated for the main ministry in the 2016 budget with overhead cost taking over N1.7 billion.


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  • FreeNigeria

    Buhari administration of incompetence.

    • Truth Konveyor

      If you read the news more carefully you would discover that there was no contradiction whatsoever. AGF was stating the amount recovered by the Federal Ministry of Justice while the Budget Office was referring to the overall amount recovered by the Federal Government. The only incompetent people here are the Premium Times. In their bid to sensationalize the news they mischievously made it look like the two government officials were talking about the whole amount recovered. What a shame!

      • DONALDSON

        what do you mean by that ?

      • VERITAS_ the rock of ages_

        You read the report well. Premium times screwed up. or maybe they didnt. But bottom-line, as they put a “maybe” attached to the subject in the report then the headline is misleading, and wrong.

      • persona

        “Let me put it on record that the Federal Ministry of Justice has equally significantly recorded success in the recovery drive as it relates to the looted funds.

        “In that regard and direction, over N15bn has been recovered by the ministry and $10.5m was equally recovered in that direction.”
        The minister said that exclusive of the recoveries, the revenue profile of the ministry as at Dec. 31, 2016, was N12.4m.—-Punch newspaper.

        All these online platforms who don’t mind skewing details for their own good. Whatever happened to calling the ministry/ minister for justice or better still ask the DG to say what is the component of the ministry of justice?
        Laziness, ineptitude and little wonder, an online news was the platform for saying the president is dead.

  • Iskacountryman

    america wonder…

    • VERITAS_ the rock of ages_

      lol. come and see oh!

  • FuzzyLogic

    The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Symptom of any dysfunctional system.

    • VERITAS_ the rock of ages_

      Good point.

  • Kaykay

    @DeepSpace2000:disqus

    PREMIUM TIMES should stop doing public advocacy to help the useless Buhari government.
    We have no light in my area since December 23, 2016, no single electricity supplied to us.
    So what are you saying? A government that can’t supply electricity can’t add up anything.
    Buhari government is worse than the defeated government of Yahya Jammeh of Gambia.
    Nigerians should write strong letter to Yahya Jammeh to come and govern them better.
    Buhari is too useless to achieve what Yahya Jammeh achieved for people of Gambia.

    • serubawon70

      Buhari is certainly more useful than your ignorant father for your father to produce somebody like you.

      • ahahahahahah!

        @serubawon70:disqus

        BUT HIS FATHER IS THE SCIENTIST WHO JUST DISCOVERED THE CURE TO the ZIKA VIRUS.

  • Adele Uhuru

    Buhari the thief and his people are working magic with national accounting that will leave Nigeria looted

    • ?????????

      @adeleuhuru:disqus

      …………..and Premium Times is helping Buhari to say maybe the attorney general means this or that…..
      why should Premium Times be crying more than the bereaved?……The truth is that attorney general…..
      …did not say he was limiting himself to only a small portion of the loot…..so, why should Premium Times….
      …….use their newspaper to wrap the corpse of Buhari government and carry it for head to dance in public?…….

      • emmanuel

        That is the demonic aspect of PT Junk Journalism. Investigative reportage of PT is carried out for the benefit of he who pays the piper.
        Howelse could Trump have described Africans?

      • VERITAS_ the rock of ages_

        yeah saw that too. If they were gonna put it in the report that there was a “maybe”, then the headline shouldn’t be written how it was.

        • persona

          They should have called to verify if the minister spoke for his ministry or total loot recovered.
          Punch already reported the senate oversight duty to ministry of justice and the man did say it was his ministry and not total figures. Our journalists are now lazy and inept which is sad. They cant present information with accuracy and fairness.

          • VERITAS_ the rock of ages_

            Dont mind them. bad journalism. People trust them a lot so they need to put their act in check.

          • persona

            I just tire for the need to discredit than to build in this country. Its very annoying that we will not verify but trust news outlets who are doing bad jobs and the simply pull the report.
            PT ran a story and a report on the grass cutting issue with SGF, the report exonerated the man and details showed that he had nothing to do with the issue but when they were reporting the senate reaction to the Buhari letter, the pulled the report and made no reference to it again.
            This is our country and we should treat each other well.

  • michro

    What do you expect when fantastically corrupt corruption fighters are playing the game of corruption fight for the corruptly oppressed masses to watch?

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  • Papa Ogihwriodo [Warri]

    MY CHILDREN,

    I am sorry that Buhari has put your life upside down. I can feel what you are feeling too. You have no future again.
    If armed robbers don’t kill you the kidnappers will grab you and still kill you the same way after taking blood money.
    Any which way, you have no future. I am sorry for you. Here now, we have formed vigilante around River Ethiope to
    make sure no youth will jump inside to do suicide, like they are doing in Lagos because of the bad government of
    Muhamadu Buhari.

    I am reading this thing you people are saying. You want us to appeal to Yahya Jammeh to come and take the mantle as president of Nigeria. You are saying Yahya Jammeh is better than Muhamadu Buhari. I have not gone to Gambia before
    but it is not impossible that Yahya Jammeh is better than Muhamadu Buhari. But how will you now beg Yahya Jammeh?

    Because if you write letter you need to put the address, but you don’t know Yahya Jammeh address in Equitorial Guinea. Why don’t you people go to the Embassy of Equitorial Guinea in Abuja to deliver letter there for the Ambassador to take
    back to Equitorial Guinea? That is the best way, instead of hanging yourself with rope inside your room out of frustration.

  • Aminu Baba

    If I get him correctly, the minister is reporting ONLY his ministry’s portion of the recovered loot and definitely NOT the entire loot recovered by the administration

    • VERITAS_ the rock of ages_

      yep. says the report. the headline was kinda misleading.

      • persona

        “Let me put it on record that the Federal Ministry of Justice has equally significantly recorded success in the recovery drive as it relates to the looted funds.

        “In that regard and direction, over N15bn has been recovered by the ministry and $10.5m was equally recovered in that direction.”
        The minister said that exclusive of the recoveries, the revenue profile of the ministry as at Dec. 31, 2016, was N12.4m.—–Punch Newspaper

        AGF spoke about his ministry not the total loot recovered. Nigerians should stop seeking information from one source. PT ran a fake news on the daughter of Oyo state governor and just recanted. We cant believe everything we read. How you dey?

        • VERITAS_ the rock of ages_

          you speak true. They just goofed in this report. I dey well my Friend. Just been busy with work. was in that work nutshell.

  • Mary

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  • FirecloudOFGOD

    If you can all only have a glimpse and appreciate the amount of looting happening under this APC government, some of you will cry uncontrollably just like my ‘friend’ Ada, who was jailed this morning, has been doing! By the way Kudos to Justice Lateefa Okunnu for a JOB WELL DONE!

    The only difference in this case is that your cry is not about the loss of opportunity to spend the looted fund, but more for the fact that the looted fund APC recovered is re-looted! (Who needs remedial Math between Ben Akabueze and AG, Mallam Malami ) The difference between the two provided figures of over N50 billion is too much to overlook or do ‘decimal round off’ on! You never know in Nigeria though!

    I am more inclined to believe the Financial technocrat than the Lawyer. We need clarification pretty soon.

    • persona

      Sir, the AGF spoke of his ministry’s recovery and not total loot recovered. The senate committee on judiciary visited him and this was what he said as quoted by punch newspaper:
      “Let me put it on record that the Federal Ministry of Justice has equally significantly recorded success in the recovery drive as it relates to the looted funds.

      “In that regard and direction, over N15bn has been recovered by the ministry and $10.5m was equally recovered in that direction.”
      The minister said that exclusive of the recoveries, the revenue profile of the ministry as at Dec. 31, 2016, was N12.4m.

      DG budget gave the total figures and the AGf spoke about his ministry and even PT alluded to it that he may have spoken about his ministry. It demands journalistic ethics to verify from the ministry of justice on veracity of the figures and not say its contradictory. The same was said about the daughter of the governor of Oyo state till she almost sued them and the apologized. We need to read from diverse sources to piece the right info.

  • ayoka ade

    for years to come,nigeria shall mourn the conspiracy and the national error of judgement that brought buharis government of deception and lying liars upon nigeria.

    • Iyalaya Anybody

      BUHARI IS A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER BOTH FOR IGNORANCE AND FOLLY.

      BUHARI DOES NOT READ AND SO HE DOES NOT KNOW THAT HE DOES NOT KNOW.

      • Arewa Cries

        @ayokaade:disqus

        “For a man (Buhari) that has led us into the worst recession ever and
        has got nothing to show Nigerians since he assumed office to be talking of
        2019, shows how shameless this government can be. It is very unfortunate and
        shameless that a government that is yet to do anything is already talking of 2019.

        It is very unfortunate that a party like APC that is fast becoming moribund
        is already talking of 2019 when they have nothing to show for the four years
        Nigerians gave them. This development shows they are power-hungry, hypocritical
        and corruption-ridden. We are not even in the middle of the four-year term
        given to them and they are already talking of 2019. This is an unfortunate
        development and it shows the ineptitude of the government”

        ………………Dr. Junaid Mohammed

        (November 22, 2016)

  • persona

    Why are we so inclined to skew details?
    The DG was talking about total amount recoved and the AGF spoke during an oversight meeting from members of the senate.
    “Let me put it on record that the Federal Ministry of Justice has equally significantly recorded success in the recovery drive as it relates to the looted funds.

    “In that regard and direction, over N15bn has been recovered by the ministry and $10.5m was equally recovered in that direction.”
    The minister said that exclusive of the recoveries, the revenue profile of the ministry as at Dec. 31, 2016, was N12.4m.—-Punch Newspaper.

    The AGf spoke about how much his ministry had recovered and not how much the country has recovered. We cant rely on single newspaper to get our facts right anymore and its a shame.

  • burning spear

    See what happens when u ave a bunch of unserious clowns in charge of the affairs of the country—–there is little or no coordination in the system———————that is the figures are tailored to make Buhari look like angel Michael abi? A thief like Bingo BVuhari will never get anything right unless the story is cooked up to suit the needs of the Apes in APC————-

  • olat

    Premium Times turned to Anti PMB.

    Where is d contradiction?