Nigeria, through its anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), has been commended for its determination and zeal in tracing and recovering criminal assets.
This commendation was made at a meeting between the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and Head of International Collaboration, National Anti-Corruption Commission, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Nassar Abaalkhail.
Sequel to the meeting, Magu also delivered a paper on November 8, 2017, at the ongoing seventh Session of Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption taking place in Vienna, Austria.
The 10-page paper entitled: ‘International Cooperation in Relation to Technical Assistance: The Nigerian Experience’ which he delivered, gave a detailed account of efforts by the commission at tracing and recovering all stolen treasures from the country’s coffers.
According to a statement made available to THISDAY by the commission Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, the Head of International Collaboration, National Anti-Corruption Commission, Saudi Arabia, Abaalkhail, who lauded the commission’s efforts said: “From what I have heard, Nigeria’s effort at asset tracing is remarkable. Nigeria is indeed a role model for countries, including developed countries. We have so much to learn from Nigeria.”
While commending Nigeria, the Commissioner, Sierra Leone Anti-corruption Agency, Ady Macauley, also said: “The EFCC, capably represented by Magu, is not only formidable but a pride to the African states. My men were in Nigeria a fortnight ago to understudy your operations, and I must confess, we have a lot to learn in investigation, prosecution and asset recovery.”
In his presentation, Magu, who was a panelist at the Implementation Review Group attended by over 100 delegates, detailed the Nigerian efforts in asset recovery, including the progress made in the specific cases related to late Sani Abacha’s loot, Malabu oil, Diezani Alison Madueke and associates as well as arms procurement scandal.
He said these efforts cut across Switzerland, US, United Kingdom, UAE, Jersey Island and Panama.
According to him, “EFCC monetary recoveries from May 2015 to October 20, 2017, were in excess of N738.9 billion which is equivalent to over $2.9 billion. This does not include smaller currencies like Durham, CRA and British Pound.”
He stated that “within this year alone, the commission recovered stolen assets running into several millions of US dollars and billions in naira. These include the sum of $43 million recovered from Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum, Deziani Allison-Madueke, and N2 billion spread in seven accounts within three Nigerian banks laundered from the Federal Capital Territory Police Command salary accounts.”
In his recommendations, The EFCC boss sought improved coordination and cooperation among state parties in asset recovery through the consideration and adoption of measures that will remove traditional ‘barriers such as bank secrecy consistent with Article 46(8) and dual criminality Article 46(9) as well as simplify legal technicalities in the recovery and repatriation of stolen funds.
Magu in his paper further sought measures to reduce the cost of recovery of assets for developing countries and ensure the speedy return of all stolen assets to victim states in line with the current resolution sponsored by Nigeria.
He also called for sanction and prosecution of any financial institution that violates AML/CFT measures and the maintenance of a public register on beneficial ownership.