Nigeria has called on the global community to take decisive measures aimed at preventing and combating corruption as well as strengthen international cooperation against illicit financial flows.
The country explained that the need for a multifaceted approach to addressing illicit financial flows as recommended by the High Level Panel Report on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (FACTI Panel).
Representing Nigeria, the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, made the call at UN headquarters while delivering Nigeria’s statement yesterday the Special Session on Corruption in New York. The three-day UN General Assembly Special Session on Corruption focuses on “Challenges, Measures to Prevent and Combat Corruption and Strengthen International Cooperation’’.
Bawa said that the Report (FACTI Panel) provided paths to financial integrity for sustainable development, strongly showing how to redirect the resources lost from illicit flows to finance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs.
The anti-graft agency boss, on behalf of Nigeria further called for the simplification of evidentiary requirements and other mutual legal assistance procedures to seize, confiscate and repatriate proceeds of corruption as appropriate, to enhance international cooperation for timely recovery and return of assets.
“Let me reiterate that the fight against Illicit Financial Flows is urgent and important in our collective efforts to address corruption. We remain committed in our efforts to track, investigate and prosecute corrupt individuals and entities and repatriate such funds and assets to their countries of origin,” the EFCC Chairman said.
He said that Nigeria looked forward to the full implementation of all the commitments expressed in the Political Declaration, particularly on asset recovery and return, to support development financing as well as the implementation of the agenda 2030 for sustainable development.
The EFCC boss told the international gathering that Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari had made the fight against corruption one of the cardinal objectives of the administration.
He said that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) and whistle blowers were encouraged to join the fight against corruption and contribute their quota in that regard.
The EFFC Chairman explained that “one instance of such whistle blowing led to the recovery of $43m. Public corruption is being exposed by the day and several Politically Exposed Persons have been and are being prosecuted and divested of their illicit assets.
“We have been engaging with International Law Enforcement Agencies around the world and some of the collaboration has led to the recovery and repatriation of stolen funds.
“It has led to recovery and repatriation of stolen funds, including the recent return of the 4.2million pounds by the UK Government that was stolen from Nigeria by a former governor.’’
In addition, Bawa said procurement processes had been strengthened and activities of the gate keepers were being monitored through the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering to serve as deterrence to the stealing of public funds.
“Policies have been introduced to mitigate revenue leakages including the development of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS). The NACS is developed with five identified cardinal pillars on prevention, public engagement, ethical re-orientation, enforcement and sanctions and recovery and management of stolen assets/proceeds of crime. The strategy is aimed at providing a national road map in the fight against corruption,’’ he said.
Also, he said that Nigeria had sustained its commitment to the social re-use of recovered assets as demonstrated in the funding of major road infrastructure projects and other social initiatives consisting of cash transfers to the most vulnerable groups, school meals and funding of micro-credit schemes.