By Adedapo Adesanya
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has called on the leaders of the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) to fashion and pursue a robust Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Combating Financing of Terrorism policy in the fight against corruption and other violent crimes pervading the region.
The Chairman of the commission, Mr Bolaji Owasanoye, made the call while lamenting that illicit financial flow, as well as illegal trade in pangolins, elephant tusks and other wildlife, is estimated to have cost the region billions of dollars.
The ICPC boss, while delivering his keynote address at the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) annual public lecture series held at the Nile University, Abuja, stated that, “It is difficult to divorce the raging violent crimes in Zamfara State of Nigeria from the illegal gold mining by Nigerians and collaborators from the West African region and beyond which had gone on for years unabated.
“In 2016, the IMF estimated the annual global cost of bribery alone at $2 trillion, which is roughly 2 per cent of global GDP.”
Mr Owasanoye added that the above figure does not include the cost of other forms of corruption and illegal trade in pangolins, elephant tusks and other wildlife.
While stating that money laundering provides the means to make illicit money seem licit, he said only a robust AML/CTF can help fight corruption, terrorism/terrorist financing, arms trafficking and cross-border trafficking of hard currency to influence elections etc.
“West Africa needs to pursue a multi-track strategy to surmount the daunting challenges posed by economic and financial crimes. The fortune of generations unborn relies on the actions that we take today,” he said.
Some of the actions, according to him, include strengthening democratic institutions for the emergence of credible, legitimate people-focused governments across the region; promoting complementary selfless visionary leadership focused on the future of Africa not as rhetoric but with action, and strengthening regional cooperation, amongst others.
On his part, the Director-General of GIABA, Mr Kimelabalou Aba, said that money laundering and terrorist financing constitute major obstacles to human development and present significant obstacles to equal economic and social opportunities, especially for honest and hard-working people.
“In many other countries, these crimes have adversely impacted national security and development in Nigeria, including the erosion of hard-earned reputation for individuals, corporate organisations and even countries.
“While investors take calculated risks, they try to avoid investing in countries classified as high risks for money laundering and terrorist financing,” Mr Aba said.
He stated that the event provided another golden opportunity for GIABA to strengthen collaboration with the academia in their commonly shared responsibility of tackling the twin problems of money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) in Nigeria and the West Africa region.
He said: “It is imperative for GIABA and all stakeholders, including academia, to deepen our collaboration to effectively counter these criminals – we need a network of good people to counter the network of evil people. Criminals may be smart, but they often end up outsmarting themselves.”
“In GIABA, we consider the school system as a critical stakeholder in this endeavour. Educational institutions such as yours are the orchards that nurture the future human fruits of a nation – many good and bad people in society today pass through the school system, and the system would have influenced both.
“As the foremost socializing institution in the society after the family, the school system should do more to deliver future good leaders for the society – leaders that can be trusted to deliver development and good governance for their people and not under development and misery,” he noted.
Akinwumi Adesina Turns Down Requests to Become Next Nigerian President
By Adedapo Adesanya
The President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Akinwumi Adesina, has ruled himself out of the 2023 presidential race in Nigeria.
Mr Adesina made his position known in a statement on Tuesday after months of calls for him to join the contest after a group bought the presidential nomination form of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for him at the cost of N100 million.
In the statement, the banker emphasised that his current desire is to continue to hold the office of the president of the AfDB which he won reelection for last year.
However, he expressed appreciation for those who found him worthy of leading his country at this critical time it is undergoing different challenges ranging from economy, security and others.
“While I am deeply honoured, humbled and grateful for all the incredible goodwill, kindness, and confidence, my current responsibilities at this time do not allow me to accept to considered,” the statement read in part.
“I remain fully engaged and committed to the mission that Nigeria, Africa and all the non-African shareholders of the African Development Bank have given me for Africa’s development.
“I remain fully focused on the mission of supporting the accelerated development and economic integration of Africa,” Mr Adesina added.
Less than two weeks ago, a coalition of 28 groups purchased the N100 million APC presidential forms for the former Agriculture Minister.
The coalition consists of groups such as the Youth Arise Movement, Nigerians in Diaspora, One Nigeria Group, Prudent Youth Association of Nigeria, women groups, farmers, and other civil society groups.
Sanwo-Olu Promises Justice for Sound Engineer David Imoh
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has promised to ensure that the late Sound Engineer killed by a mob in the Lekki area of the state last week gets justice.
The Governor gave this assurance through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, in a statement issued on Monday night.
Last week, after boarding a commercial motorcycle, an argument ensued between Mr David Imoh and the okada rider over N100 and attracted other riders, who then lynched him.
There have been calls for justice for the deceased and in the statement today, the state governor said this would be done.
He condemned the mob attack and said the police are interrogating four suspects at the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Panti in connection with the incident, while two survivors of the act are in hospital.
According to Mr Sanwo-Olu, the government will address the root cause of this and similar incidents, which have caused public anxiety, appealing to residents to remain calm as police continue to investigate the matter.
“Lagos has no room for savagery and anybody found to have been involved in this barbarism will surely face the law.
“We condemn and will not condone any kind of jungle justice, no matter who the perpetrators are,” the statement stressed.
N80bn Fraud: EFCC Arrests Accountant General of the Federation Ahmed Idris
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, is cooling off in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He is having talks with the agency, explaining what he knows about an alleged diversion of N80 billion belonging to the federal government.
He was picked up by operatives of the EFCC on Monday, May 16, 2022, after allegedly failing to honour invitations by the commission to respond to issues connected to the issue.
In a statement issued on Monday night, the anti-money laundering organisation claimed that Mr Idris, through verified intelligence, “raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.”
“The funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja,” another part of the statement disclosed.
The AGF has been in the news lately over an audit report, which indicted some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government of fraud.
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