Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday canvassed the need to strengthen international cooperation in the global effort to curtail illicit financial flows, saying the current international mechanisms are not strong enough to address the menace.
Osinbajo made this submission while delivering a speech on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari at the Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) Panel Video Conference, held on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
According to a statement by the vice-president’s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, the session featured presentations by the immediate past President of UNGA, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande and Ambassador Mona Jul of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Osinbajo, however, said the FACTI Panel has a role to play in meeting the expectations of both the source and destination countries as well as in harmonising the process of asset recovery and repatriation.
He said: “The current international mechanisms for asset recovery are not good enough as can be seen in the amounts lost to illicit financial flows and the length of time taken before the repatriation of just a small fraction is made. The FACTI Panel report can play an important role in bridging the expectations of source and destination countries as well as in harmonising the process of assets recovery and return.”
The statement said Osinbajo also spoke on efforts to promote equity and achieve economic growth, saying, “we agree with the panel on the importance of having a balanced approach that reflects the situation in different regions and the priorities of different stakeholders.”
He added: “I believe that for the global aspiration to recover better from the impact of the pandemics and to yield any inclusive result, we must comprehensively address existing structures that make it impossible for countries to generate and retain a sizeable chunk of their resources. The success of the FACTI panel’s final report will be measured by the clarity of its recommendations in support of global governance reforms”.
Akande said the speech emphasised the dangers posed by illicit financial flows and how the panel’s work could be useful, noting that the problem would be best addressed internationally.
“FACTI Panel’s report should assess how effectively we are meeting our commitments to combating the scourge and strengthening cooperation in dispute settlement and peer learning, particularly in assets recovery and return,” he added.
According to the statement, other leaders who spoke at the forum were the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg; Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi; Former President of Lithuania and FACTI Panel Co-Chair, Dalia Grybauskaite; and Ibrahim Mayaki, former Prime Minister of Niger and FACTI Panel Co-Chair.