Africa loses $50b yearly to illicit financial outflows, foreign nations frustrating recovery of looted assets, Sagay declares.
Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, yesterday disclosed that Africa was losing over $50 billion yearly to illicit financial outflows.
Speaking at a walk to commemorate this year’s Africa Union Anti-corruption Day in Lagos, he said a large portion of the outflows was made up of illegally acquired assets scattered all over the world.
Represented by the Lagos Zonal Head of the commission, Muhammed Rabo, he stated that it was against this background that the convergence of relevant local and international anti-corruption stakeholders to reflect on the challenges of asset recovery and solicit support towards developing a framework for a common position on the issue was imperative.
Besides, Magu harped on the need to create awareness and engage the citizens in asset recovery efforts.
With the theme, “Towards a Common African Position on Asset Recovery”, the anti-graft agency’s chief executive added that all hands must be on deck to defeat graft, adding: “We must all demand the culture of integrity and accountability to win the fight against corruption.”
He went on: “It is a settled fact that corruption remains Nigeria’s greatest problem; and by extension, the entire African continent. The resources that should have delivered a good life to the majority of our people have been cornered by the privileged few, leaving the entire nation under-developed.
“As a result, heads of anti-corruption agencies in Africa have persistently sought the support and collaboration of the global community in repatriating stolen assets back to African countries.”
Specifically, he stressed the strengthening of cooperation among the anti-corruption agencies on the continent for purposes of developing a common framework on asset recovery.
According to him, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had made the fight against sleaze in Nigeria and recovery of stolen assets a major issue.
Magu said the EFCC recognised the fact that an enduring success in the fight against economic crimes and corruption could only be achieved when all stakeholders embrace this all-important crusade.
Also speaking, the president of Women Arise for Change Initiative, Dr. Joe Odumakin, expressed joy that the African Union had set aside July 11 every year to combat the menace.
She said: “Our great continent is bleeding under the heavy weight of corruption. If Africa does not kill corruption, corruption will kill us. The poorest people we can find in this world are from Africa. Instead of us putting the feet of our youths on the pedestal of prosperity, they are being put on the pedestal of corruption.”
However, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC) Professor Itse Sagay, has blamed Nigeria’s inability to effectively recover stolen assets and funds on frustration from foreign countries.
“One major problem that Nigeria has experienced with regards to the recovery of assets is the extreme difficulty of persuading foreign countries to whose territories such looted funds are transferred to return the monies to the victim states, ” he stated.
He spoke yesterday in Abuja at an event organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) in respect of the continental event.