The Battle Against Corruption

‘Federal Government Can Seize Illegal Assets’- Osibanjo

by Doris Ukaonu

The Battle Against Corruption

Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, on Tuesday , during  the opening of an Anti-Corruption summit in Abuja, organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), stated that the Federal Government is allowed to confiscate the assets of any citizen who has no legal source of income.

Osibanjo also said that if the issue of corruption in the country is reduced, the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) might be increased to $534 billion. In his words: “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.

“This opens the door for forfeiture of assets that the purported owner cannot explain, whether or not an allegation of corruption is made.”

In addressing the issue of bribe given to law enforcement agents to process driving licenses, he mentioned that Nigerians should not have to pay bribe to law enforcement agents in order to obtain a driver's licence or international passport or to clear goods at our ports.”

Image of Vice President Osibanjo speaking at the  Anti-Corruption summit in Abuja

Adding that Buhari’s administration is devising several anti-corruption schemes to deal with the wide spread of corruption around the country, this being the reason why PACAC was one of the first bodies set up back in 2005. According to him, no matter how much revenue a country makes so long as corruption thrives, it will amount to nothing. “Since 2015, much has been done in this battle against corruption. But we are not even slightly deluded into thinking that we have won the battle, certainly not. We are still very far away but we must admit that we are much closer to finding solutions than when we began". He said

He also stated that the strategy was to tackle grand corruption first, that is, the stealing of huge public resources directly from the treasury, which is usually at the behest of the highest levels of executive authority, and the stealing of budgeted funds through various schemes.

Osibanjo went on to say that the best solution for corruption is first accepting that it is not a norm in the society, contrary to common opinions that corruption is a part and parcel of every nation existence.