By Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said that developing countries in Africa lose over $148 billion to corruption annual majorly to Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).
Speaking at the International Conference on IFFs and Asset Recovery organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Malami further revealed that over $700 million stolen funds from Nigeria has been returned to the country in the last four years.
‘Nigeria, through proactive and collaborative efforts with other countries has recovered and ensured the return of over $700 million from the United States, the United Kingdom, Bailiwick of Jersey, Switzerland, and Ireland in the past four years. We are still working with our international partners and other countries to ensure that all Nigeria’s assets that are identified are recovered,’ he said.
Delivering the key note address at the same event, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr (Mrs) Zainab Ahmed, said ‘Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), unless checked, will continue to significantly erode domestic revenues, enable corruption, threaten economic stability and sustainable development, divert money from public priorities and hamper government’s efforts to mobilize domestic resources and recover better. In Nigeria and across the African continent, we continue to suffer various forms of IFFs, including tax evasion and other harmful tax practices, the illegal export of foreign exchange, abusive transfer pricing, trade mispricing, misinvoicing of services, illegal exploitation and under invoicing of natural resources, organized crimes, and corruption.’
Also speaking, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Geoffrey Onyeama said IFFs is a global menace that requires all affected countries to actively participate in the war against it.
‘IFFs is an international problem that must be tackled and requires the critical stakeholders to play a role, he said.
‘African States should create methods and mechanisms to inform sharing and distribution among agencies that deal with IFFs. Success in the fight against IFFs would require regional corporations, says Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu.
Bankole Adeoye, African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security in his speech assured of the willingness of the organization to work with and assist African nations in the battle to eradicate IFF.
‘The AU is ready to work with the government of Nigeria and ICPC to stop this scourge. This conference will promote a better understanding to move us to the Africa we desire,’ he started.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoy,e said: ‘I am delighted to welcome you to this virtual International Conference on Illicit Financial flows and Asset Recovery organized in collaboration with the AU-ABC and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa.
‘This conference offers an opportunity for part to discuss IFFs, CARPAR and asset recovery and proper solutions to these critical barriers to resource mobilisation and sustainable development.’