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Treasury looters returning stolen funds – Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday disclosed that some past government officials who stole public funds while in the saddle have started returning parts of their loots to government coffers voluntarily.
He however said he was not satisfied yet as his government would stop at nothing to ensure all stolen funds and not a fraction was recovered.
Buhari disclosed this during an interactive session he had with members of the Nigerian community in the Islamic Republic of Iran, as part of his activities for the third summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Tehran.
Buhari did not name the former government officials who have so far returned parts of looted funds.
He also did not disclose how much had so far been returned to the public treasury.
While answering question from a Nigerian, Buhari said trials of treasury looters would have commenced but for his administration’s determinations to conduct thorough investigation and gather more evidence needed to prosecute water-tight cases.
He said unlike what was applicable in 1985 when he was a military Head of State that suspects could be detained while being investigated, democracy and rule of law do not encourage that.
Buhari said “On corruption; yes, they (the past government officials) are still innocent.
“But, we are collecting documents and some of them have started voluntarily returning something. But we want all.
“When we get those documents, we will formally charge them to court and then we will tell Nigerians to know those who abused trust when they are entrusted with public funds.
“So, the day of reckoning is gradually approaching.”
The President also promised to deal decisively with saboteurs who are vandalising pipelines and stealing crude oil.
“I believe if you are in touch back at home, you would have been told that already there is some improvement in power.
“We haven’t said anything to them yet. I think they only find it sensible or appropriate for them to try and improve the power.
“I’m sure you know about the privatisation of the power sector; your old friends NEPA or Power Holding Company of Nigeria have been sold to a number of interest groups.
“But, the fundamental thing about us is that we have potential in everything except performance.
“We have a lot of gas, we have a lot of qualified people but again we have a lot of saboteurs who go and blow installations.
“Those who normally steal Nigerian crude and those who blow up installations, whether they call themselves militants or whatever, they are still there,” he said.
Buhari also reiterated his readiness to end insurgency in the country.
He assured them that peace would still return to the troubled parts of the North East.
The President also assured the Nigerians that his administration would revamp the nation’s educational system from primary school to the tertiary levels.
The Nigerian Charge D’Affairs in Iran, Dr. Ali Magashi, told the President that some Nigerians who attempted to smuggle banned substances into Iran from Afghanistan are currently in prisons in the country.
Source - PUNCH
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