By Olumide Ajayi
Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the federal government can seize assets from citizens who cannot explain the source of their wealth.
The vice president made this known on Tuesday while declaring the anti-corruption conference organised by the office of the vice president and the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) in Abuja on Tuesday.
“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,” he said.
“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 is not deceived into thinking that it has won the battle against corruption as it was tackling grand corruption first.
“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,” he explained.
“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, licenses and other government approvals; there is no reason why any Nigerian should have to give bribe to law enforcement agents for obtaining drivers licenses 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 between our agencies, civil society and other stakeholders.”
He said the enforcement of treasury single account(TSA), the presidential initiative on continuous audit, and transferring civil servants on the IPPIS electronic platform has helped to control official theft of public funds.