Wow!! FG Recovers 40 SUVs From Ex-Perm Sec, NLC Urges Probe

Wow!! FG Recovers 40 SUVs From Ex-Perm Sec, NLC Urges Probe

The Federal Government said on Thursday that it had recovered 40 brand new SUV cars from a former permanent secretary.

It said that the unnamed former permanent secretary appropriated the vehicles to himself after leaving office.

It, therefore, said it would be wrong for it to be accused of fighting corruption without any clear strategy.

Rather, it said it was being guided by a well-articulated strategy in its fight against corruption in the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this in a statement.

Mohammed said, “The strategy has proven so effective and that it has led to, among others, the recovery of 40 brand new SUVs and other vehicles from one former Permanent Secretary who single-handedly appropriated the vehicles to himself when he left office.”

He said the Federal Government was not just fixated on prosecution alone but was also taking preventive measures to make corruption unattractive.

Mohammed listed the strict enforcement of the Treasury Single Account and the constant fishing out of ghost workers in the public service as some of the preventive measures government had taken against corruption.

He added that other measures included the establishment of the Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery and the Asset Tracing Committee; the setting up of an Asset Register, and the Whistle-Blower Policy.

Reacting to the recovered SUVs story, the Nigeria Labour Congress has called for a diligent investigation that could lead to the prosecution of the former permanent secretary involved in the scam.

The NLC’s General Secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, who spoke on behalf of the workers’ union, also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other anti graft agencies to launch a comprehensive investigation into the allegation to determine if such acts were widespread in the public service or not.

“Well, I don’t have the details but if a retired permanent secretary walks away with public assets of that magnitude, then clearly, it is criminal and examples need to be made of such people by diligent prosecution, and making an example of him so that people can stop this fraudulent act.

“…But I think it is straight forward that if indeed they have identified such a person and they have conclusively determined that he took away such items, he should be prosecuted.

“Yes, investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other anti graft agencies will be necessary. For now, the crime is alleged, it is the process of investigation that would determine if the crime is even more widespread within the public sector or not. And I think that it should be pursued so that the country can have the full benefit of how widespread the thing is.”

However, the minister also announced the plan by the government to embark on a trial run of electronic asset declaration to facilitate compliance and also to search and retrieve data on the assets of public officers.

The e-asset declaration policy, which would start in 2017, would work through the Code of Conduct Bureau.

In addition, he said, the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption was also working with relevant MDAs, especially the National Bureau of Statistics, to improve data collection on corruption indicators.

He said, ‘’Once perfected, the data will be shared with the government periodically, if possible as regularly as government receives data on inflation and unemployment trends, to indicate trends in corruption and influence government measures to correct the situation before it gets out of hand as we have now.”

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