The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says Nigeria won’t need external loans if all the looted funds are repatriated.
Azuka Ogugua, ICPC’s spokesperson, said this on Monday, while featuring on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television Programme, to mark the 2021 African Union Anti-Corruption Day celebrated July 11 every year.
Ogugua said Nigeria accounts for over 20 percent of illicit financial flows (IFFs) from Africa, noting that there is a need for a common African policy on repatriation of stolen funds from the continent.
The African Union illicit financial flow report estimated that Africa is losing nearly $50 billion through profit shifting by multinational corporations and about 20 percent of this figure is from Nigeria alone.
“This year, there is a lot of focus on illicit financial flows because if these funds are repatriated back to the country, they will really help in development,” she said.
“The countries are suffering from lack of funds, looking for loans all over the place whilst if these funds are repatriated, we will use them to develop our countries.”
Ogugua said that the foreign nations where the looted funds are domiciled always give “stringent conditions” when it comes to the repatriation of the funds to African countries, but noted that it should be the other way round.
“When we want to bring back the money, the host countries give very stringent conditions as if they are also taxing you again. Money that was looted from you, they will give you stringent conditions for spending it, and monitor the expenditure,” she added.
“A case in point is the Abacha loot, the World Bank gave a very stringent condition but the crux of the matter is that it is our funds.
“In CAPA, we also give them some conditions – if you are keeping money that belongs to our country in your own country, when you are returning, like say $1bn stolen from Nigeria, you should not return $1bn to us; it has stayed with you for 10 years, you should put it in an escrow account so that it will yield interest.
“When you are returning it, you should return it in the real current value but they don’t do that. So, they are giving us conditions which we are abiding by but we need to give them some conditions that is why there is need for a common African policy.”
This development comes on the heels of the repatriation of series of looted funds linked to Sani Abacha, former military dictator.
In 2020, $311,797,866.11 was received by the federal government of Nigeria as part of recovered assets of Sani Abacha, former military dictator.
The US, from whom the funds were received, said that another $319m (N121bn) looted by Sani Abacha, is in the United Kingdom and France.
(Cambridge University Press, January, 2021) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN, FCIArb, Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti
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