Global collaboration required to enhance asset recovery -AGF - Trends and Politics

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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Global collaboration required to enhance asset recovery -AGF

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has affirmed that it is obvious there is a strong condemnation of corruption by the international community, insisting what remains to be done is the global collaboration to enhance asset recovery and return of stolen asset to the victim state.
Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice hinted in a statement that the Minister revealed this at the Conference on Promoting International Cooperation in Combating Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) and Enhancing Asset Recovery to Foster Sustainable Development held at Aso Rock Villa Tuesday.
Malami who chaired the Day 2, Session Four of the conference gave highlights on the concerted efforts made by the Federal Government in the fight against corruption and the cooperation of the international community in the recovery of looted assets and assets returns.
The international community demonstrated by United Nations Commission Against Corruption (UNCAC) is a strong denunciation of corruption and by extension Illicit Financial Flows (IFF).
However, the zeal accompanying asset recovery has not always been matched by the same ambition and urgency for ass et return due to a myriad of factors in both requesting and requested states. Tension has been growing between developed countries that received stolen asset and requesting states who are asking for their stolen assets to be returned unconditionally.
Panelists at the session examined the mechanism by which operation could be enhanced and measures to facilitate and ease recovery of stolen assets back to the origin. They were;  Oliver Stolpe, UNODC/Star Initiative, Vienna, Austria, Ekpo Nta - Chairman, ( ICPC), Antonio Tricarico, Director, Re-Common Italy and Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye ,Executive Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption. (PACAC).
One of the panelists, Mr Oliver Stolpe who recounted many Conferences members of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) had attended in Nigeria, said that the conference is unique and different from all because it centred on assets recovery.
Stolpe commended Nigerian government on its far reaching efforts towards recovery of stolen assets, adding that Nigeria is on the lead and as an example for other countries championing the course for the illicit asset recovery.
He said though progress towards assets recovery is slow, Nigerian government has not shown any form of frustration but had continued to push on in the course for assets recovery. He stated that Nigeria has an effective legal framework and would need the global agenda forward.
Speaking on the resolution of assets returns, chairman of ICPC, Mr. Ekpo Nta explained that the origin of illicit stolen asset when compared to things like narcotics, embezzlement of public funds that goes out of the country, must be treated right from the origin.
According to him, assets recovering could not only be money, but of works of arts that had been taken away out of the country.
He therefore called for the need not only to return the stolen assets, but also importantly to ensure the management of future assets.
One of the areas that should be looked at is the return of funds from outside the country and to ensure that the funds would be adequately utilized in Nigeria”, he surmized.
On his part, Mr Rotimi Oladele in his contribution, noted that businesses registered as unlimited are used by the owners as conduit pipes to divert stolen monies to banks.
He therefore suggested that Cooperate Affairs Commission (CAC) should ensure that the unlimited list businesses by particular corporate body should become more limited.
Rather than somebody who is in the business of oil and gas, will be able to divert stolen money to banks and importation of papers for printing business because it covers more than it’s prospective”

He also called for increased media participation in the exposure and the protection of whistle blowers which must come in to clear the air, so that people with good information will be confident enough to bring them to the public.

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