Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that African countries lose an estimated $70 billion worth of resources to illicit financial flows every year.
The Minister who spoke at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York, also deliberated extensively on some of the problems associated with illicit financial flows in Africa.
The event organised at the United Nations Headquarters had in attendance Nigeria’s President and other African Heads of State including those of Zambia and Ethiopia.
Onyeama explained that a large number of participants from across Africa and beyond took part in the conference on illicit financial flows out of Africa where the anti-corruption steps taken by the Nigerian government to check the menace were also discussed. “We engaged very robustly in this session and really articulated to the global community, Nigeria’s priorities and what its leadership is doing to attract support from the international community.’ He said
Illicit financial flows cost African countries at least $50 billion every year, more than the total sum of development aid the continent receives, according to a 2018 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).
This is even as estimates of a high-level panel of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), show that these illicit flows have been on the rise since the beginning of the century, when they stood at less than $20 billion a year.
The report also shows that every year, tax evasion and related activities cause developing countries to lose more than the total amount of aid they receive from development partners.
Focusing on West African states, the OECD isolated criminal activities that cause illicit financial flows, to include medication smuggling to human trafficking.
The OECD argues that the total financial cost of the flows is significantly higher because of the effect these activities have on the development and the stability of the countries concerned. Cocaine trafficking is used to “intimidate or corrupt public officials”, while stolen vehicle trafficking finances terrorism. It stated.
At a briefing in Abuja earlier this year, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, revealed that Nigeria recorded illicit financial outflows of $217.7billion in 38 years, (between 1970 and 2008).
The Commission boss stated that the various investigations, arrests, prosecution and assets recoveries over the years had confirmed that the level of corruption in Nigeria had been quite huge.
Magu, who was represented by the Acting spokesperson of EFCC, Tony Orilade, spoke at a one-day conference organised by Online Publishers Association of Nigeria with the theme: “Free press and objective reporting in the 2019 election year.”
The EFCC boss said corruption in Nigeria was being perpetrated by individuals and groups both in the private and public sectors, including former state governors, ministers, high ranking military officers, chief executives of parastatals and top bureaucrats in state and federal agencies. Magu said, “The alarming rate of corruption committed by these unpatriotic elements can be partly seen in the number of convictions secured by the EFCC from Nigerian courts since I assumed duty as the head of the commission in 2015.
“The figure stands at 103 in 2015, 195 in 2016, 189 in 2017 and 312 for the period of January to December 2018. .
igure for the period of 2015 to 2018 is a mind-blowing 799 convictions. In the process of such convictions, the EFCC recovered N794.5bn, $261m, £1.1m, €8.1m and CFA86, 500. “One of the most graphic ways through which the absence of democratic accountability manifests itself in Nigeria today is through the prevalence of rampant corruption at all levels of governance.