By Demola Akinyemi
Ilorin – The Zonal head of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)in Ilorin,Kwara state capital Mr Isyaku Sharu has said that the commission was tracking N370M money of the state government,converted to pounds sterling that was used to purchase property in the United Kingdom by a highly placed politician in the state.
The EFCC Zonal head also said that the Africa continent is losing over fifty billion US dollars to illegally acquired assets annually and called for collaborations by the stakeholders to reverse the trend.
The commission said this yesterday in Ilorin during a walk to mark the 3rd African Union, AU Anti-Corruption Day rally with the theme: “Towards a Common African Position on Asset Recovery
Major streets in the state capital were shut down with the rally as the stakeholders which include labour leaders, members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ),members of Nigerian Youths Service Corps(NYSC), Artisans among others participated in the rally displaying various placards against corruption.
The walk which commenced from EFCC office took participants through the Ahmadu Bello way, challenge, post office, offa road, tanke junction among others and ended at the EFCC office.
Speaking during the rally, the zonal head of EFCC, Mr Ishiaku Sharu said,”This is the gathering of African against corruption, against looted funds. We have for long suffered capital flights From African to the western world.
” It is our responsibility to come as Africans to fight the common cause with a view for making sure that the assets stolen from Africa are repratriated back to Africa. This is what we are doing here today. ”
On Kwara state money traced to the United Kingdom he said ,”In Ilorin zone we are also tracking M370M that was converted to pounds and found it’s way to UK for a particular property of one highly placed politically exposed person.Very soon you will hear from us.”
On the $50Billion annual loss he said,”The continent is losing over $50 billion yearly due to illegally acquired assets allocated all over the world and the process of tracing, freezing, management and eventual repatriation of assets is a long process, hence the need for the involvement of relevant instruments through international cooperation to repatriate stolen assets back to Africa,”
He however expressed concerned that the recovered assets are still being stolen by the same people who stole them in the first instance.
His words,”You can all agree with me that it involves the invocation of relevant instruments to partner with international cooperation. Extradition,mutual legal accentrity,freezing among others are
the process. But to our greatest surprise with all these complex nature, after all said and done the repatriated funds that were brought back to the country would still be stolen by the same people”
“So, heads of anticorruption agencies in africa have persistently sought for the support and collaboration of global communities for the repatriation of stolen wealth back to African countries.
“The need to straighten international cooperation among the anti corruption agencies in africa for purposes of developing an African common position frame work on asset recovery and return can therefore never be over emphasised.”
Sharu also added that the aim of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the fight against corruption in Nigeria had brought significant recovery of looted assets aquired through mismanagement of public funds.
He therefore appealled to all the stakeholders to join hands with the commission to ensure recovery of our common patrimony carted away by the looters, most importantly with the recent whistle blowing policy of the Federal Government.
Kwara State. Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ )Mallam Umar Abdulwahab in his remark commended the commission for its achievements since it commenced operations in the state and pledged partnership of the media in the state towards achieving the goals and aspirations of the commission.
Also Director of National Orientation Agency, Mr Segun Adeyemi who said that the presence of EFCC in the state is making impact with securing of conviction of some internet fraudsters, called on the society to guide against corruption.