The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Tunde Fowler; Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; and Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, will join other top officials from around the world at a global conference on how to contain Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) at the Trusteeship Council Chamber, UN Headquarters in New York.
President of the United Nations General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa,who invited the trio to the event scheduled to kick off tomorrow, said the high-level meeting will focus on International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Asset Return.
Fowler, who is also the first Vice Chairman of the United Nations Committee of Tax Experts, will also be sharing the African perspective on IFF, as he also the Chairman of the African Tax Administration’s Forum (ATAF).
Espinosa said the UN General Assembly, in its resolutions 72/202 and 73/222, entitled “Promotion of International Cooperation to Combat Illicit Financial Flows and Strengthen Good Practices on Asset Returns to Foster Sustainable Development”, mandated the UN General Assembly to hold the meeting.
The meeting will kick off with an opening segment, two interactive panel discussions and a plenary segment for general discussion. These will be followed by a closing segment.
The two interactive panels will discuss these two themes: Taking stock on achievements of contemporary efforts to combat Illicit and Financial Flows and moving on and a global architecture to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen recovery and return of illicit assets.
This meeting is being organised to take stock of progress made and ways to address subsisting challenges to reduce IFF and promote best practices in asset recovery and repatriation as an important means to support the timely implementation of the 2030 Agenda in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders.
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki met with Fowler, ICPC Chair, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Presidency officials, officials of the Ministry of Justice and other heads of Nigerian anti-corruption agencies last year in Abuja to review the African response to IFF and chart the way forward. Mbeki headed the African Union High Level Panel (AUHLP) IFF to review the African response and chart the way forward.
Fowler and other government officials made a presentation at the conference, while the West African Union of Tax Institutes as well as the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) had held conferences on how to combat the scourge of IFF.
On the continent, Nigeria has been prominent in the fight against the illegal repatriation of funds/profits by multinationals through involvement in several initiatives such as a high-level representation on ATAF’s Cross Border Taxation Committee, whose activities have impacted significantly on the discourse on IFFs globally.
The FIRS, in partnership with the Presidential Advisory Committee on Against Corruption (PACAC) and the EFCC have organised two high level events for the recovery of illegal proceeds of tax evasion.
Abiodun Aina, Coordinating Director, Domestic Taxes Group and Special Advisor the Executive Chairman is also attending the conference.