The Federal Government said it has begun gathering evidence on government officials linked to the alleged looting of $69bn (N28.3tn) stashed in various bank accounts in Texas, the United States.

The loot reportedly accrued from illegal oil deals involving some officials of the government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Central Bank of Nigeria during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, told newsmen on Friday that the Federal Government had swung into action with the aim of getting adequate information on the $69bn loot allegedly hidden in American banks in Texas as well as the government officials involved.

Dr Umar Gwandu, Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, spoke on behalf of the minister, said the government was at the information-gathering stage and would work on verifiable information.

Gwandu said, “The government has swung into action to generate adequate information on the alleged $69bn, inclusive of the Nigerians involved, incidental bank details, and actionable intelligence to enable us to deal with the matter.

“The details of the alleged lawyers involved and what information is at their disposal can also be very helpful.

“The office of the Attorney General of the Federation works on cogent and verifiable information, not on media sensations or on speculations.”

He said the Buhari administration had the track record of repatriating stolen funds stashed in foreign accounts, saying it was one of the “visible and indelible” successes recorded by the regime.

Gwandu said, “The Office of the Attorney General has established a historical record of acting on cogent and verifiable information that has led to the recoveries of looted assets upon valid revelations that are subjected to integrity test by the assets recovery units of the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

“The integrity test of information is not media-based but a process being conducted through the laid-down official process in compliance with the extant laws.

“One of the prime and uncompromising policies of the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is the fight against corruption.”

Meanwhile, when contacted, Kennie Obateru, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Department, NNPC, said that the corporation had nothing to say about the allegations for now.

“You know the way NNPC is run, particularly on issues like this. We don’t have anything to say about it,” he stated.

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