ABUJA – The Presidency has alleged that some corrupt individuals are using monies they acquired illegally to compromise their investigation and sometimes prosecution.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said this on Sunday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, while addressing the issue of the travel ban placed on 50 high-profile individuals by the Federal Government.
He explained that the move was in the interest of concluding cases that have dragged on for too long “and held our judiciary captive”.
“Everybody is complaining, the judiciary wants to move forward. People are using illegally acquired money and property, they are using this to compromise the investigation and sometimes prosecution and they are making it very difficult for our courts to function,” he said.
Speaking further, the presidential aide appealed to individuals who got their wealth through corrupt practices to return such looted funds to the nation’s treasury.
He stressed that doing such would be in the overall interest of the nation.
“It is in our interest as a nation. If it is your money, you take it home. If it is not, you return it to the treasury,” he said.
Mr Shehu had announced the decision of the Federal Government in a statement on Saturday, one day after a Federal High Court in Abuja upheld President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order 6.
The order, among other things, allows for the interim seizure of assets linked to the investigation, ongoing criminal trials, and other related offences.
It also empowers the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), in liaison with relevant investigative agencies, to temporarily seize properties linked with corruption, to prevent the dissipation of such assets.
The move has attracted both criticism and praise. Among the critics are the Peoples Democratic Party, and human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) and the Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).