Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Jonathan’s officials secretly return government property in fear of Buhari




Government officials who served under the administration of former President, Goodluck Jonathan are already heeding the recent directive by President Muhammadu Buhari for them to return some of the government property they took with them as they left office, Leadership reports.

It was learnt yesterday that some former top government officials were secretly returning the assets which include: vehicles, generating sets and furniture to the ministries, agencies and even some departments at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa from where they were taken.
Similarly, those whose families are still occupying government buildings are said to have started asking them to quickly vacate the place on the pretext that they were staying there without their knowledge, after they had returned to their respective states or travelled abroad.
The newspaper gathered from a top presidency official that, since yesterday, some of the past government officials, mostly former President Goodluck Jonathan’s men, had been calling to explain themselves, insisting that some of the property were taken either by their family members or close aides without their consent.
The presidency official, who pleaded anonymity, however noted that despite the last-minute effort being made by these former officials to save their head from the ongoing probe directed by the president, they would still be made to explain their actions which were tantamount to sharp practices.
According to the source, “Throughout today (yesterday), we have been receiving calls from some of the former aides and officials of government who claim that whatever was still in their possession were taken and were being kept either by their family members or personal assistants.
“Some even claim that they were aware that their family members were still living in government buildings while they were away in their hometowns, or abroad where they are on vacation. But their explanations amount to nothing but medicine after death. Whether they return the property or not, they must face the law because what the president is angry about is the action itself.”
On whether the committee set up to go after the culprits had identified them, he said, “We have the names of most of them on ground already. What the committee is doing at the moment is to ascertain whether due process was followed before they took the property as their personal possessions.
“Once discovered that they did not buy them in line with the monetization process initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, they will still be prosecuted.”
President Buhari was reported to have constituted a committee made up of security agents and civil servants to identify and recover public assets still with former political appointees.
Confirming the setting up of the committee on Sunday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, had explained that the aim was not to embarrass anyone but to recover government assets.
“That is precisely the case. Even here at the Presidential Villa, there are cars and other property belonging to the government which are yet to be returned. The property belong to the Nigerian people. We are not trying to humiliate anyone by asking them to return their cars or houses,” he had said.
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