By Kenneth Ehigiator
Participants at the recently concluded Kuramo Conference, organised by Lagos State government, have canvassed establishment of an international tribunal to recover stolen wealth stashed away in foreign banks by corrupt public officials.
The conference, which drew participants from different parts of the world, including Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Irish President, was part of efforts by the state government to give Africa a voice in decision of major global issues that also affect the continent.
Rising from the conference, participants in the 16-point communique issued at the end of the parley, were unanimous that the tribunal would help to recover money lost to the West through coruption.
According to them, “the proposed tribunal which will have representatives of States and Non_Governmental Organisations should be established by treaty or multilateral agreement to deal with corruption and the recovery of stolen wealth.”
The communique, signd by Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Supo Sashore (SAN) and Executive Director, Kuramo Foundation, Mrs. Olajumoke Oduwole, also said in the alternative, the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court could be strengthened or an African court with criminal jurisdiction should be empowered to deal with cases of corruption and the recovery of stolen wealth, thereby giving legal teeth to international and regional instruments on corruption.
They noted the new model for tackling endemic looting of public treasury, especially in the developing and under_developed countries, stressing that “public prosecutors should embrace civil recovery methods as a compulsory adjunct to criminal justice strategy because the option of civil recovery provides additional access to effective remedies in tracing and recovering stolen wealth from foreign jurisdictions.”
On the proceeds of crime, the conference participants urged the Nigerian National Assembly to activate the Proceeds of Crime Bill 2008 before it and pass same into law without any further delay just as it appealed to other African countries with similar laws to follow suit.
Delegates also called for an increase in the budgetary allocation for education being a strategic driver for human development while they urged African leaders to put in place the necessary mechanism to ensure access of the people to affordable drugs to combat deadly diseases.