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Recovered Loot With CBN — Investigation

Naira and Dollar bills

Public funds that have so far been returned by some past government officials who looted the treasury while in the saddle are currently with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had while speaking during an interactive session he had with members of the Nigerian community in the Islamic Republic of Iran disclosed that some past government officials who stole public funds had started returning parts of their loot to government coffers voluntarily.

Buhari did not disclose the identities of the former government officials who have so far returned parts of the looted fund or the amount returned to the public treasury.

But Sunday Punch's investigation revealed that the money is with the CBN, although the amount could not be immediately ascertained at the time of filing this report.

It was also not certain yet the purpose for which the money would be utilised.

Although there are speculations that the return of the monies could be part of a plea bargain arrangement that will see the ex-officials returning their loot quietly without being prosecuted, it was also learnt that the President might not have made up his mind on the matter.

When contacted on Saturday, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, confirmed that the looted fund was being returned to government coffers through the CBN.

He said only the apex bank could speak on how much had been returned to the government.

He said, “The looted fund is being returned through CBN. Only the bank can speak on the procedure, and how much has been returned so far.”

When further asked if the President was considering pardoning those who have returned their loot or they will still be prosecuted, Adesina replied, “The President has not made a declaration on whether those who returned money voluntarily would still be prosecuted or not.”

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had told journalists at Friday’s Federation Accounts Allocation Committee meeting in Abuja that the Federal Government had yet to put a specific figure to the amount of money so far returned by those who looted the treasury, saying the process was still ongoing.

According to her, when collated, the funds would be returned to where they were stolen from.

The minister said, “There is no figure on the funds being returned yet. The process is ongoing. When it is completed and the accounts are available, they would be returned to where they were stolen from. We haven’t come to that yet.”

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