The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said on Sunday that the federal government has no ulterior motive behind the letter she sent to the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, on cash assets recovered by the agency between May 2015 and January 2018.
The memo dated February 9 and signed by the minister was addressed to Mr Magu to notify him of records of cash asset recoveries in the custody of the anti-graft agency based on information available to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
In the memo, Mrs Adeosun said the Ministry of Finance had noted that EFCC was using in its computations recovery figures in media reports without reconciling same with the ministry’s records.
Consequently, the minister asked Mr. Magu to ensure the EFCC provided evidence where the cash recoveries it was quoting in the media were deposited or kept for official records reconciliation.
The letter, which leaked in the media at the weekend, generated huge debate among Nigerians, with some accusing government of insincerity about details of the cash assets recovered from public officers since it came to power in May 2015.
Despite several official requests by the media and civil society groups to make details of the actual recoveries public, government’s explanation has always been that it was not possible in view of the legal processes involving some of the recovered assets.
However, on Sunday, Mrs Adeosun through her spokesperson, Oluyinka Akintunde, in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES said the thrust of the letter to the EFCC acting chairman was to enable government reconcile and harmonise the figures on recovered funds.
In a three-paragraph statement, Mr Akintunde said: “The attention of the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has been drawn to media reports misrepresenting her innocuous letter to the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, on cash recoveries by the Federal Government.
“The minister wishes to state explicitly that the letter dated 9th February, 2018, was a standard letter aimed at improving controls over the recovered funds.
“There is no ulterior motive behind the letter as alleged in some media reports but to enable the reconciliation and harmonisation of the figures on recovered funds by the government.”
He said reconciliation of the records of cash asset recoveries was currently ongoing after the EFCC subsequently provided the requested information to the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.