- Africa Loses $90bn to illicit flows annually, says ICPC EFCC fighting powerful forces, Magu cries out
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
As African Union member Countries celebrated 3rd African Anti-corruption Day yesterday, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Mele Kyari, has declared that President Muhammadu Buhari never sought any favour from the corporation nor breached the company’s processes since his election in 2015.
Kyari’s declaration came as the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Crimes Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, said African countries lose $90 billion through illicit flows annually.
This is an increase from the $50 billion stated in a report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, chaired by former South African President Thambo Mbeki in 2015.
But the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, said total recovery of stolen assets from looters of the treasury would discourage corrupt practices in the country. Also, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, said the commission was fighting powerful forces but remained undaunted.
Speaking in Abuja at the 3rd African Anti-corruption Day Roundtable Discussion on Asset Recovery and Return, Kyari said President Buhari never sought any favour from NNPC nor breached its processes since coming to power in 2015.
“The president has never asked us to do anything for him in our transactions and he does not interfere with what we do. We will do our best to be transparent and open on whatever we do. We are accountable to this country.
“NNPC is the focal organisation for the Open Government Partnership. Whatever we are doing, we will make sure it is open,” he said.
Kyari who led the entire management team of NNPC to the event said: “I urge all of us to be part of the anti-corruption campaign. Corruption can only thrive where there is discretion. We have reduced discretion to the barest minimum in what we do.”
In a related development, the ICPC chairman who spoke at the 2019 African Union (AU) Anti-corruption Day organised by ICPC in collaboratlon with some Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), said “this anti-corruption day initiative became imperative because the negative impact of corruption on the continent’s economic development cannot be underestimated”. “The worst-hit victims of the crimes of corruption remain the vulnerable poor and the marginalised individuals.
“Indeed a report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, chaired by former South Africa’s president Thambo Mbeki in 2015 put the amount of money leaving Africa through illicit flows at a staggering sum of $5O billion annually”.
According to ICPC boss, President Buhari added that “this is more than three times the US Overseas Development assistance to Africa”.
“Sadly, the flow is now estimated at $90 billion, and is still growing,” Owasanoye added
The ICPC boss, who was represented by Hon. Obiora Igwedibia, noted that “Nigeria is very aware of some collective commitments against corruption and the promotion of good governance across nations of Africa, and cannot deny the progress being made in this regard.
He maintained that “with these instruments, issues around procurement, open contracting, curbing illicit financial flows and recovery of stolen assets, education and other key public services, beneficial ownership transparency, are being squarely addressed by many of the AU countries.” In his remarks, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Solicitor-General of the federation, Mr. Dayo Apata, noted that corruption undermined the African security and violated human rights.
He said some of the efforts by the current government to tackle corruption include the introduction of TSA, BVN, and whistle-blowing policy, among others.
In his remarks, Mustapha said government was determined to recover all stolen assets from looters of the treasury.
He said it was only when such recovery was effected that looters would ask “themselves whether the effort was worth it”.
He said recipient countries of Nigeria’s looted proceeds must be encouraged to intercept such illicit financial inflows and enable repatriation.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Magu, said the agency was fighting powerful forces in He said the commission was determined to deal a fatal blow to corruption.
”The forces we are against are powerful because they have a lot of stolen funds with them and enough resources to frustrate investigation and prosecution.
”But we are determined to lead the fight against corruption. To get these funds and assets back has become a problem,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, who was represented by newly promoted Lt. General Lamidi Adeosun, called for concerted efforts against corruption saying the fight must not be left for anti-corruption agencies alone.