Money recovered so far from members of past administration has risen by N66 billion ($66 million), from N6.88 billion.
Of the latest amount made known yesterday by Information Minister Jerry Gana, $1.64 million was spent on legal services.
Barely 48 hours ago, Accountant-General of the Federation, Kayode Naiyeju, told the Senate Committee on Public Accounts that N77.5 billion ($77.5 million) had so far been recovered by the government.
The N66 billion, he said at his weekly media chat in Abuja, has been credited to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) account in Switzerland.
His words: “The Federal Government of Nigeria has received the total sum of U.S. $66 million, less $1.64 million for legal fees. Thus, the remainder of the amount of U.S. $64,360,000 was credited to the CBN account at the Bank for International Settlement in Switzerland.
“This is the first money returned to the Federal Government from the looted monies of the members of the previous administrations through freezing of accounts and subsequent legal action.”
Government, the minister added, would have gone public with the names of those involved but for legal reasons.
On the release of funds to the National Assembly and other sectors of government, the minister said: “The Appropriation Amendment Act 2000 provided for the issue out of consolidated revenue fund of the federation.
“A total sum of N663,135, 336,384.00 out of which the sum of N341,526, 1556, 927.00 is for the recurrent expenditure, the sum of N6, 800,000,000 was allocated to the National Assembly.
“Out of the sum, N3,305,000,000 is payable to the National Assembly”.
He explained that the actual disbursement so far from the Finance Ministry is N1.9 billion and that the releases between January and May 2000 were made on the basis of the 1999 Appropriation Act.
Gana said no capital allocations had been released to all other ministries except for critical projects made to the National Assembly and ministries.
The minister refuted the allegation that the Assembly is being starved of fund.
On the anti-corruption Act, he praised President Olusegun Obasanjo for signing it into law, adding : “A commission on the act is on the way.”
A special counsel would be appointed by the Chief Justice, Gana stated.
Jane Ezereonwu, Guardian (Nigeria), July 14, 2000