10:15 pm
23 October 2016

Nigeria says recovered over $2 trillion looted from treasury, 55 officials charged

NIGERIA has recovered more than $2 trillion that was looted from the national treasury in the past 12 years, authorities have said.

The money was recovered from “criminal groups and public office holders” by the country’s leading anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), justice minister Abubakar Malami said in a statement Wednesday.


Malami said the high rate of economic and financial crimes were possible in Nigeria because not just the financial system broke down under severe mismanagement, but also the justice system, due to the lack of a comprehensive legal framework, weak law enforcement agencies and ill-equipped judiciary, among others.

Last month, the Nigerian government said prosecution of at least 55 officials indicted in looting cases while serving in past cabinets was underway.

Among past government officials standing trial in the corruption cases include 15 former governors, four former ministers, 12 public servants at federal and state levels, said the government.

Meanwhile, the country is still investigating the fraud suspected in the arms procurement fund, of more than $2 billion, which was allegedly diverted into accounts of individuals instead of what it was meant for. Since taking office in May 2015, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has launched a crackdown on endemic graft.

The Nigerian government said the war against corruption was being fought to save the country from anarchy rather than “witch-hunting”, as politicians from the last government of president Goodluck Jonathan have alleged.