Why FG must be careful with anti-graft war — Osinbajo

Posted by Isiaka Wakili | 6 June 2017 | 2,223 times

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•Acting President Osinbajo.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo says corruption is fighting back so eloquently that the Federal Government itself, “if not careful, can be overwhelmed.”

He said this at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja on Monday at a conference on Promoting International Co-operation in Combating Illicit Financial Flows and Enhancing Asset Recovery to Foster Sustainable Development.

According to the acting president, the ongoing anti-graft war in the country is facing a major fightback in the media.

“There is a media war, between people fighting corruption and those behind the stolen funds. It is called media trial, I don’t know what that means. If you discover for instance large sums of money in an air condition room there is no where it will not make news anywhere in the world,” he said.

He said the whole idea of legitimising corruption was “definitely being fueled and sponsored by those who have these resources, who have stolen funds. Unless we see it as a problem that can bring down our system then we will never be able to fight. I hope we will be able to advance this with other African countries.”

Osinbajo said the Mbaki report that most of the illicit funds flow from Africa were from Nigeria implied that Nigeria, especially security agencies, had to do more as “It is evident that so much money is leaving our shores.

“I was arguing with somebody about the fact that they were stopping certain funding, and he kept telling me Nigeria is no longer a poor country but now a mid income earning country so they shouldn’t be giving us those kinds of aids. It was barely a week after that a large sum of money was found at the Kaduna airport and it was roughly about half of the money we were looking for. So he sent me a text telling me that the money has been discovered at Kaduna.

“Of course I didn’t reply him but when he persisted and called him and asked if this was his own form of a joke. But clearly it is sometimes absurd that when we are asking for aid and so much money are being stolen. So, we, ourselves, must take responsibility and ensure we keep talking about this.”

Observing that too many Nigerians, proceeds from drug trafficking are dirty money, but those of corruption are not, he said: “Somehow, proceeds from political corruption have not attracted the same outrage that proceeds from narcotics and trafficking in persons have attracted.

“It took years for some people to agree that when somebody loots money where people make decent living; that is more criminal than crime against humanity, more dangerous than trafficking in drugs.”

The acting president accused foreign financial institutions of conniving with those transferring stolen assets, saying: “There is no way the transfer of these assets can happen without a handshake between the countries from where they are transferred and the international banking institutions in the countries in which they are transferred. There is no way it will happen without some form of connivance.”

He said those financial institutions must be delegitimised and criminalised so that they could be made to face the consequences of engaging in criminal practices, noting that “if that isn’t done, we are not likely to go very far.

“For there to be collaboration, there must first be connivance. In the agreements and conventions we will be signing, we must find a way and ensure that financial institutions are not given a free run and hold them accountable,” Osinbajo stated.

The acting president said African countries must see it as their responsibility to find stolen monies and ensure they are returned.

“It is not enough to talk about it. Some countries are somehow reluctant about it, many have civil processes that make it difficult, they say our courts are handling this matter and there is very little we can do about.” (Daily Trust)


Source: News Express

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