From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
As part of measures to curb the problem of Illicit Financial Flows, (IFFs) Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye has proposed that benefiting foreign nations be made to pay back stolen funds with interests.
Owasanoye said illegal movements of funds from African countries abroad has made the continent to be the biggest victim of IFFs, adding that the Federal Government of Nigeria was currently reviewing legacy transactions in oil and gas, tax investments and the use of waivers in Nigeria in order to curb IFFs.
Speaking at the International Conference on IFFs and Asset Recovery, held at the ICPC Headquarters, Abuja, the ICPC boss urged foreign beneficiaries of IFFs to deduct loans to African countries from the illegal funds in their possessions, and return the outstanding amount with interests to the continent.
“Africa is the biggest victim of IFFs. If you evaluate what we have lost as a continent against what African counties owe, Africa should be a net creditor to the world. They can decide to deduct the loans given to African countries from all the money taken from the continent, there will still be a substantial amount to return to Africa.
“The money should also be returned with interests as they have been in use over there. The money should be placed in an Escrow account, and a regional development bank that knows how to manage money should be in charge of such funds.” He said.
Owasanoye furthe advocated a more practical and easier process that will reduce the time frame for the repatriation of identified stolen funds and assets, decrying the huge loss suffered by the continent due to long and tedious processes which usually takes several years to complete.