The chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay has said that over N1 trillion spent on Social Investment Programme (SIP) between 2017 and 2018 was recovered by the committee.
Sagay who disclosed this to journalist after the committee met with President Muhammadu Buhari at Aso Villa yesterday said the minister of information, Mr. Lai Mohammed could say exactly how much had been recovered.
Nevertheless, he said N500 billion spent on SIP in 2017 and another N500 billion in 2018 were all proceeds of recovered assets by the committee.
“I think the Minister of Information is best placed to say how much (has been recovered) but I can say roughly, internally, it is almost about N1 trillion because you saw that in 2017, N500 billion was spent on this Social Investment Programme and in 2018, the same amount for the programme. So, it must be roughly about N1 trillion, although we also have monies that were recovered from abroad being ploughed back into the same system,” he said.
He added that whatever looted fund the committee recovers is ploughed back into the system.
Sagay said corruption had permeated the system for over 50 years and it is something that can be done away with in the twinkling of an eye.
He said even in court, officials would not allow a lawyer to file a case without extorting money from him.
“When you have a disease that has been alive maybe 50 years, you cannot get rid of it overnight. My own personal experience about corruption, it exists at every level. That is the frightening aspect through all sectors of the society.
“As a lawyer, going to court to file a paper, every official of the court imposes a personal tax which has nothing to do with the official filing fees to do his job. These are clerical officers and much lower people, and this pervades all aspects of Nigerian society,” he said.
He submitted that corruption which had become a culture in Nigeria would take a long time to vanquish.
“So, corruption has become a culture; some people are corrupt without even thinking that they are corrupt, it is part of them. They think it is an entitlement. So, it is going to take a long time to get rid of it.
The PACAC chairman there called for a re-orientation of the citizens through awareness campaigns as well as the need to give incentives to those who are not corrupt to encourage others that a corrupt-free life is rewarding.
Sagay explained that all that the committee could do was to concentrate on fighting corruption in the corridors of power by focusing on those who divert government resources for their personal benefits.
On the claim that corruption is fighting back, Sagay said the intensity of corruption fighting back has reduced with the expiration of the 8th national assembly.
He said the main opposition to the fight against corruption was coming from the last National Assembly, adding that the current ninth National Assembly is however, “determined to work hand-in-hand with the government and therefore with us in achieving the highest level of non-corruption in society.”
He expressed hope that the new management of Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) in collaboration with the recently constituted committee would recover the N5 trillion owed the company.