You Don’t Collect Returned Loot Without Criminal Procedure – George Uboh

Looted funds, returned loot, George ubohThe Chief Executive of Panic Alert Security Systems, Mr George Uboh has condemned the manner in which the government has handled its recovery of looted funds.

He was on Sunrise Daily on Monday, reacting to the government’s decision to withhold names of persons involved in the list of recovered monies and assets released during the weekend.

He believes that concerned authorities are not being sincere with Nigerians in their handling of the anti-corruption campaign by the Nigerian government.

“If a minister on the run comes and says ‘look I have one billion Naira I want to return’, you don’t accept it without going through the criminal procedure,” he argued.

He explained that the removal of the sources of those monies meant that another government would not be able to ascertain that those persons who funds have been traced to have returned such monies traced to them.

He also accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of holding on to some of the recovered funds as he had several documents to back up his claims, having worked for the government to trace looted funds.

“I was engaged by the federal government to trace funds trapped in financial institutions and within 27 days I traced in different currencies aggregate 324 billion Naira. So if the government is coming as a government saying they traced a little over a hundred billion in one year, you be the judge,” he said.

Mr Uboh’s engagement has since been revoked by the Attorney-General of the Federation but he insisted that by recent happenings, he had been vindicated on his past allegations against the EFCC and details of traced loots which he has made public on several occasions.

“I have always accused the EFCC, I have the evidence…and with this (his) engagement I have been able to find the monies EFCC is hiding and more.”

Appointed In Error

The Attorney-General of the Federation, in a letter published in the media had asked the President to disregard Mr Uboh’s published claims that he had traced the amount totalling 1.9 trillion Naira.

Mr Uboh claimed that he was aware of this and had taken it up with the AGF who told him that there had been a public outcry and other ministers had demanded that his engagement for the tracing of looted funds should be revoked.

The AGF’s letter also stated that Mr Uboh was engaged in error as he was later discovered to have been “previously convicted in the United States for bank fraud and was recently jailed by an FCT High Court for fraud related issues”.

Mr Uboh said that the most convenient excuse is for anybody to say he is an ex-convict but “If the evidence I proffered against the EFCC is fake, arrest me. If the evidence I have proffered regarding my tracing is fake, arrest me.

“What has that got to do with anything? Is he denying that he signed the engagement letter?” he asked. He clarified that he was not contesting the issue of the revocation of his engagement but was only insisting on the recovery of what he had traced during his engagement.

“I have the record, names, and account numbers of all the monies I traced…the government has to answer, why are these funds traced not recovered?

He would not deny his conviction as stated by the AGF but insisted that the case was in appeal as he was wrongfully convicted. He vowed that he would win the appeal and clear his name.

On his conviction in the US, he further said, “I am celebrating my conviction. You know why? Because my conviction elevated me to the status of all the idols I admire all over the world who have been arrested, detained, in some cases jailed for fighting corruption and injustice globally. It comes with the territory.”

Distortion of Records

Meanwhile, a legal practitioner, Emeka Onohwakpor, agrees with Mr Uboh’s demand that names should have been published with the funds and assets recovered.

Giving a slightly different perspective, he believes that the names should have been published in order to ensure proper record.

While Mr Oboh earlier suggested there might be a cover up, Mr Onohwakpor believes that the decision to withhold names is a loop hole for more fraud to be committed as there are possibilities that some persons are concealing information.

Emeka-OnohwakporThe lawyer also warned that the manner in which the recoveries were declared will allow for distortion of the records.

He added that anyone who indeed returned money after discovering that monies paid for services were stolen, cannot at the moment be sure if what they returned have gone to the government..

“If somebody who has been accused of looting funds refunds one billion dollars and only 500 million is declared, then there is a problem,” he said.

“We cannot just leave it to only one side declaring what they got. The side that gave, you even owe them a duty to say ‘I got this from Mr B’.

Mr Onohwakpor disagreed with the government’s stance that they might be liable to litigation if they publish names of persons they have recovered monies and other assets from.

He said that publishing a list of recoveries and their sources does not mean the persons mentioned have been tagged looters or have been declared guilty of fraud.

“And the issue of whether it is going to tarnish their image; I don’t think it comes in here because if the money you’re returning to the government is gotten through legitimate means you put your case out there. Nobody is accusing you.”

He also stated that a media organisation or the federal government would not be liable to any form of litigation for naming persons they recovered monies or assets from as long as they truly returned such money. “The point is, let it not be a lie,” he said.

He admitted that no one can be declared guilty until the courts say so but having returned money, the burden of proof swings to the person to proof his innocence.

He also dismissed the view that some persons were not aware that the sources of the monies they were paid for services were illegal arguing that being overpaid should have been an indication that the sources were fraudulent.

“The way forward is to create a level playing field. It doesn’t matter who is involved,” he advised.

 

FG Releases Interim Report On Financial, Assets Recoveries

PresidencyThe Federal Government has finally released the interim report on funds and assets recovered from individuals who looted the nation’s treasury.

According to a statement from the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the total cash recoveries comes to the sum of seventy eight point three billion Naira; one hundred and eight five million point one US Dollars, three point five million Pounds, and eleven thousand Euros, from May 29, 2015 to May 25, 2016.

This comes after the Federal Government failed to publish the list of individuals and the amount stolen on May 29, as earlier promised.

Full text here:

PRESS RELEASE 
LOOTING: FG RELEASES INTERIM REPORT ON FINANCIAL, ASSETS RECOVERIES

The Federal Government made cash recoveries totaling N78,325,354,631.82 (Seventy eight billion, three hundred and twenty-five million, three hundred and fifty-four thousand, six hundred and thirty one Naira and eighty two kobo); $185,119,584.61 (One hundred and eight five million, one hundred and nineteen thousand, five hundred and eighty four US Dollars, sixty one cents); 3,508,355.46 Pounds Sterling (Three million, five hundred and eight thousand, three hundred and fifty-five Pounds and 46 Pence) and 11, 250 Euros (Eleven thousand, two hundred and fifty Euros) from 29 May 2015 to 25 May 2016.

In a statement in Lagos on Saturday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also disclosed that Recoveries Under Interim Forfeiture (cash and assets) during the period totaled N126,563,481,095.43 (One hundred and twenty six billion, five hundred and sixty three million, four hundred and eighty one thousand, and ninety five Naira, forty three Kobo; $9,090,243,920.15 (Nine billion, ninety million, two hundred and forty three thousand, nine hundred and twenty Dollars, fifteen cents; 2,484,447.55 Pounds Sterling (Two million, four hundred and eighty four thousand, four hundred and forty seven Pounds, fifty five Pence) and 303,399.17 Euros (Three hundred and three thousand, three hundred and ninety-nine Euros, 17 cents).

According to the statement, which is based on the interim report on the financial and assets recoveries made by the various government agencies from 29 May 2015 to 25 May 2016, the Funds Awaiting Return From Foreign Jurisdictions total $321,316,726.1 (Three hundred and twenty one million, three hundred and sixteen thousand, seven hundred and twenty six Dollars, one cent); 6,900,000 Pounds (Six million, nine hundred thousand Pounds) and 11,826.11 Euros (Eleven thousand, eight hundred and twenty six Euros, 11 cents).

It showed that Non-Cash Recoveries (Farmlands, Plots of Land, Uncompleted Buildings, Completed Buildings, Vehicles and Maritime Vessels) during the period total 239.

The following is the breakdown of the recovered cash and assets: 

INTERIM REPORT ON FINANCIAL AND ASSET RECOVERIES MADE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA FROM 29 MAY 2015 TO 25 MAY 2016

Cash Recoveries

SerialItemsNairaUS DollarGB PoundsEuro
1EFCC Cash at hand39,169,911,023.00128,494,076.662,35511,250
2Royalty/tax/payment to FGN account in JP Morgan account New York4,642,958,711.4840,727,253.65
3ONSA Funds Recovery Account in CBN5,665,305,527.418,000,000.00
4VAT recovered from companies by ONSA529,588,293.47
5EFCC Recovered Funds Account in CBN19,267,730,359.36455,253.80
6ICPC Revenue Collection Recovery in CBN869,957,444.89
7Office of the Attorney General5,500,000,0005,500,000
8DSS Recoveries47,707,000.51,943,000.53,506,000.46
9ICPC Cash Asset Recovery2,632,196,271.71
Total78,325,354,631.82185,119,584.613,508,355.4611,250

 

Recoveries Under Interim Forfeiture

SerialItemsNairaUS DollarGB PoundsEuro
1Cash in bank under interim forfeiture8,281,577,243.921,819,866,364.733,800.00113,399.17
2Amount frozen in bank48,159,179,518.907,131,369,498.49605,647.55
3Value of properties under interim forfeiture41,534,605,998.0077,844,600.001,875,000.00190,000.00
4Value of cars under interim forfeiture52,500,000.00
5ONSA Funds under interim forfeiture27,001,464,125.2043,771,433.73
6Value of Assets Recovered by ONSA512,000,000.00
7ONSA Assets under interim forfeiture260,000,000.00
8DSS Recoveries Frozen in Banks658,929,000.00226,476.20
9EFCC Cash in Bank under final forfeiture103,225,209.4117,165,547.00
Total126,563,481,095.439,090,243,920.152,484,447.55303,399.17
Grand Total204,888,835,727.259,275,363,504.765,992,803.01314,649.17

 

Funds Awaiting Return From Foreign Jurisdictions

JurisdictionUS DollarGB PoundsEuro
1Switzerland321000000
2UK6900000
3UAE31050111826.11
4USA6225.1
Total321,316,726.16,900,00011,826.11

 

Non Cash Recoveries    

SerialItems Quantity
  ICPCEFCCONSA
1Farmland22  
2Plot of Land4  
3Uncompleted Building1  
4Completed Building331454
5Vehicles223 
6Maritime Vessels 5 
Total821534

 

Segun Adeyemi

SA to Hon Minister of Information and Culture

Lagos

4 June 2016