Nigeria’s Justice Minister Abubakar Malami says the country has recovered more than $2 trillion that had been looted from the national treasury, according to reports.
Malami noted that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), has so far recovered the money looted by “criminal groups and public office holders” over the past 12 years, the Vanguard reported.
Recently, Nigeria’s Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said the country is in the process of negotiating with the government of Switzerland for the transfer of $300 million in recovered funds from the family of former military leader Sani Abacha.
Onyeama said $700 million that Abacha hid in Swiss accounts has already been repatriated from the country, Reuters reports.
Abacha, who ruled Nigeria between 1993 and 1998, is believed to have looted about $5 billion while in office.
While the news of the two trillions recovered by the EFCC has been welcomed and seen as a welcome development, which indicates President President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s commitment to fighting corruption, some media reports have questioned the veracity of the figures.
The Vanguard has questioned the accuracy of the amount, arguing that the figure is too high, exceeding the “total sum of revenue that the country has ever earned as revenue”. The figure is more than the country’s 2015 GDP pegged at $1.109 trillion per capita (purchasing power parity), according to figures from the International Monetary Fund.
However, despite the contestation over the accuracy of statistics of funds recovered by the EFCC, corruption remains one of the most significant challenges to the country’s development and Buhari has promised to fight corruption.