AGF, EFCC, boycott reps’ sitting on probe of recovered loot

None of the government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) attended the house of representatives public hearing on the status of recovered public funds and assets from 1999 till 2016. 

Among the invited parties to the hearing which held on Tuesday were Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as all the nation’s anti-graft agencies.

Following a motion, the house mandated its committee on public accounts and finance to investigate crimes possibly committed in the recovery of looted funds and assets over a 17-year period.

TheCable observed that only representatives from the private sector attended the hearing, though Kingsley Chinda, chairman of the joint committee, said 18 MDAs were invited weeks ago.

“We made a publication in the newspapers and invited the MDAs by way of letters. And very unfortunately, not one government ministry, agency or department is here, save for those that came from the private sector like the auctioneers,” Chinda said.

“We invited the AGF, ICPC, EFCC, DSS, customs and several other agencies– about 18 MDAs. By Tuesday next week when we will resume sitting, we shall re-invite them.”

He added that the committee is not “witch-hunting” anyone, but rather trying to “douse the tension and criticism surrounding the recoveries and also to create a stronger bond between the government and Nigerians.”

Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, who was present at the hearing, had said the mystery surrounding recovered loot must be investigated.

He said the investigation falls within the purview of the national assembly as stated in the constitution.

“It is common knowledge that there are a lot of conflicting reports and claims from various agencies of government concerning the status of the funds and assets recovered from some citizens and corporate entities by law enforcement agencies,” Dogara said.

“As a parliament, we cannot fold our arms and allow the confusion trailing the whereabouts of the recovered funds and assets to continue.

“This is why the house of representatives resolved to mandate this joint committee to investigate the issue in the interest of accountability and transparency.”