FG Recovered $700m From US, UK, Others, In 4 Years- Malami
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami on Tuesday, has said that Nigeria in the last four years has recovered over $700m from the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Ireland.
Malami disclosed this at the International Conference on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and Asset Recovery, organized by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the African Union (AU).
He explained that working with international partners, efforts are underway to recover all Nigeria’s assets that are identified.
He said, We are using different mechanisms, including voluntary asset declaration process approved by President Buhari in Executive Order 008.
“In this way, we believe that if Nigerians or Nigerian entities come forward to declare their assets wherever located, the government will apply a levy against those assets.
“Nigeria through proactive and collaborative efforts with other countries has recovered and ensured the return of over $700ms from the US, the UK, Bailiwick of Jersey, Switzerland, and Ireland in the past four years.”
According to him, Africa loses an annual estimated in excess of $148bn, representing about 25 per cent of Gross Domestic Product to corruption.
He added that the impact of such criminal flow of funds means lack of health and education services, low levels of growth, high level of poverty and lack of infrastructure in many African countries.
“The commitment of the international community to meet Goal 16.4 which states, ‘By 2030, the global community will significantly reduce all illicit financial arms flow, strengthen recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime’ is a challenge for all of us.”
Speaking further, the Attorney-General, noted that asset recovery is a priority within the anti-corruption framework of Nigeria which aims to address enforcement, financial intelligence, mutual assistance in legal matters and recovery of stolen assets.
He explained that recovered assets are being channelled into the Appropriation Act to support specific development projects in line with trilateral and bilateral agreements signed with the countries returning the funds to Nigeria.
“In order to address the challenges of illicit financial flows internationally, there is need to enhance consensus building and multilateral approach in Africa and beyond to enable us combat the threat posed by illicit finance in our countries,” he said.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, in his remarks said that there is a continued need for nations, especially Nigeria to strategise on combating illicit financial flow from the country.
According to him, illicit financial flows have continued to deny developing countries of vital resources that belong to them; resources that should have been spent on their development priorities.
“It reduces tax revenues, hinders development endeavours, undermine constituted authorities and threaten the stability and sustainable development of all affected states.
“Every single dollar diverted means less money to spend on clean water, health, education, and other critical infrastructures.
“Conferences such as this must propel us to address existing structures that make it impossible for developing countries to generate and retain a sizeable chunk of their resources,” he said.