Nigeria’s anti-graft agency has recovered more than $2 trillion of stolen public funds in the last 12 years, the country’s justice minister said on Tuesday, Nigerian newspaper Vanguard reported.
Abubakar Malami, the Nigerian Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, said that the funds had been stolen by “criminal groups and public office holders” and praised the work of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)—which was established in 2003—in recovering the funds.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has made tackling corruption a key priority of his administration, and the EFCC is playing a prominent role in his anti-corruption drive. An EFCC report in 2015 found that more than $2 billion of government funds earmarked for procuring arms to fight Boko Haram had gone missing since 2007.
The report has led to a wide-ranging investigation and a number of high-profile arrests, including ex-national security advisor Sambo Dasuki and former defense minister Bello Haliru Mohammed. Nigerian authorities reportedly raided the office of former vice-president Namadi Sambo on Saturday in connection with the arms scandal.
Speaking at an anti-corruption event in Abuja on Tuesday, Malami said that the Buhari administration is committed to recovering “the fortunes that criminals have made illegally by returning every penny that belongs to the Nigerian public.” Malami also estimated that the country’s former military ruler, the late General Sani Abacha, had alone laundered around $2 million before his death in 1998.
A December 2015 report by corruption watchdog found that 75 percent of Nigerians believed that corruption in the government had increased over the previous 12 months.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established in 2003 and investigates financial fraud in Nigeria. The agency is currently engaged in a wide-ranging investigation into an arms corruption scandal, which saw more than $2 billion of funds earmarked for procuring arms to fight Boko Haram.