…As Nigeria gets global acclaim for assets recovery
By Soni Daniel
austria (VIENNA) —Nigeria has successfully traced and recovered $2.9 billion or N738.9 billion from looters between May 2015 and October 2017, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, has said.
According to Magu, who spoke at the ongoing 7th Session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption holding in Vienna, Austria, disclosed that the amount did not include smaller currencies such as Dirham and British Pounds.
Giving a breakdown of the recovered cash, Magu listed the sources as: $43 million recovered from Diezani Allison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum and N2 billion spread in seven accounts in three Nigerian banks laundered from the Federal Capital Territory Police Command Salary Accounts.
Magu also said employing the mechanism of the non-conviction-based forfeiture provided under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, the EFCC had also made a lot of recovery locally.
The acting chairman said, “within this year alone, the commission recovered stolen assets running into several millions of US Dollars and billions in naira. This include the sum of $43 million recovered from Diezani Allison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum and N2 billion spread in seven accounts with three Nigerian banks laundered from the FCT Police Command Salary Accounts.”
Apparently bolstered by the recovery effort, the international community has begun to rte Nigeria as one of the countries now taking serious steps to tackle financial crimes and corruption.
The commendation was made during a meeting between the Acting EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu and Dr. Nassar Abaalkhail, Head of International Collaboration, National Anti-Corruption Commission, Saudi Arabia. The meeting was sequel to a paper delivered by Magu yesterday at the Vienna Conference.
The 10-page paper entitled, “International Cooperation in Relation to Technical Assistance: The Nigerian Experience”, gave detailed account of efforts by the Commission at tracing and recovering all stolen treasures from the country’s coffers.
Abaalkhail said: “From what I have heard, Nigeria’s effort at asset tracing is remarkable. Nigeria is indeed a role model for countries, including developed countries. We have so much to learn from Nigeria.”
Iranian National Focal Point for the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, Dr. Mohsen Mardal, also commended the Nigerian presentation.
The Commissioner, Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Agency, Ady Macauley, also said “the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, ably represented by Mr. Magu, is not only formidable, but a pride to the African States. My men were in Nigeria a fortnight ago to understudy your operations, I must confess, we have a lot to learn in investigation, prosecution and asset recovery”.
In his presentation, Magu who was a panellist at the Implementation Review Group attended by over 100 delegates, detailed the Nigerian efforts in asset recovery, including the progress made in the specific cases related to Abacha loot, Malabu Oil, Diezani and associates and the Arms procurement scandal. These efforts, he said, cut across Switzerland, USA, UK, UAE, Jersey Island and Panama.
According to him, EFCC monetary recoveries from May 2015 to October 20, 2017 were in excess of N738.9 billion, which is equivalent to over $2.9 billion. “This does not include smaller currencies like Durham, CRA and British Pound,” he added.
Magu also said that employing the mechanism of the non-conviction-based forfeiture provided under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, the EFCC has also made a lot of recovery locally.
“Within this year alone, the commission recovered stolen assets running into several millions of US Dollars and billions in naira. This include the sum of $43 million recovered from Deziani Allison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum and N2 billion spread in seven accounts within three Nigerian banks laundered from the Federal Capital Territory Police Command Salary Accounts,” he explained.
In his recommendations, Magu sought for improved coordination and cooperation among State parties in asset recovery through the consideration and adoption of measures that will remove traditional ‘barriers such as bank secrecy consistent with Article 46(8) and dual criminality Article 46(9) as well as simplify legal technicalities in the recovery and repatriation of stolen funds.
The EFCC boss in his paper, further sought for measures to reduce cost of recovery of assets for developing countries and ensure speedy return of all stolen assets to victim States in line with the current resolution sponsored by Nigeria.
He also urged for sanction and prosecution of any financial institution that violates AML/CFT measures and the maintenance of a public register on beneficial ownership.