It will be unfair to measure the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration by its achievements in anti-corruption fight by the number of convictions it has secured, the Federal Government said yesterday.
Information, Culture and Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed, who featured on a live TVC News Programme – “This Morning” monitored in Abuja by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the administration has succeeded in laying the foundation to stamp out corruption.
He listed the Single Treasury Account (TSA) and Whistle Blower policy as some of the sustainable policies put in place by the government.
According to the minister, with the solid foundation, the fight against corruption will remain the bedrock of the administration in the next four years.
He said: “Under this administration, we insisted and have succeeded in ensuring that all payments and revenues are paid into the TSA. Before we came in, the Federal Government had over 2000 different accounts in various banks which resulted in paying several billions on Naira in charges.
“The government then also never had an idea of how much it had as revenue. Today, over N9.3 trillion has gone into the TSA and that is why it is possible for us to invest especially in the area of infrastructure and social investment programmes.”
The minister said that with the TSA savings, the government spent unprecedented N2.7 trillion on development of infrastructure in 2017 and 2018 and also introduced accountability in spending of government resources.
He said the Whistle Blower policy has helped in blocking corruption and recovery of looted funds.
Mohammed disclosed that the government has, so far, recovered several billions of naira and about $53 million through the policy.
He said the administration’s fight against corruption had been recognised abroad, with the African Union (AU) recognition of President Buhari as Champion of Anti-Corruption.
Besides, the minister said that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also recognised the efforts of the administration in fighting corruption.
He said: “When we say the fight against corruption is successful it’s because we have laid the foundation that would make it difficult for people to engage in the evil act.
“For us, the success of the fight against corruption is the fact that we have driven corruption under the table and made it unattractive as it was before.
“Those who are corrupt are doing so with the fear of the law. It will be progressive,y become more and more difficult in Nigeria for corruption to be attractive.”
On the allegation that the government’s anti-corruption fight was against perceived enemies and opposition, the minister said it was a misconception.
Mohammed said: “We had 16 years of unbroken rule by the PDP; so, the likely people who will be accused of misuse of resources should be the people who were in charge. We also have some former governors who decamped to APC who have also been convicted.”
The minister reiterated that the anti-corruption fight would be frontal in the next four years of President Buhari administration.