OrderPaperToday – The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) has revealed that assets, funds and proceeds of corruption worth more than $400m (about N152 billion) stolen from Nigeria were stashed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Olanrewaju Suraju, HEDA’s chairman, disclosed this on Tuesday at the public presentation of a report titled, ‘Fixing Illicit Financial Flows: A Critical Review of the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirate Policies, Laws and Practices in Financial and Non-Financial Institutions.’
At the conference, which was attended by representatives of MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Initiative for West Africa, (OSIWA) United Nations Office of Drug and Crime, (UNODC) Centre for Democracy and Development, (CDD), representatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offenses Commission, (ICPC), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, (NFIU) and Code of Conduct Bureau, (CCB), the leading anti-graft group explained that out of the 800 assets uncovered by investigators, 216 assets were linked to 13 top security officials, 584 traced to public officials while more than half of the $400m stolen funds are linked to the top security officials.
HEDA’s Chairman further noted that several reports showed that between 2004 and 2013, Nigeria lost about $178 billion in illicit financial flow meaning the country is losing $17.8 billion annually to illicit financial flow and corruption.
He explained that the report was borne out of the need to review the loopholes in the laws and policies governing the financial and the non-financial system in the UK and the UAE in relation to the rate at which illicit property and funds flows from Nigeria to the UK and UAE
In a communiqué, HEDA emphasized that the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirate are culprits in the illicit financial flow from Nigeria and called on the Federal Government to progressively review her international obligations like the UN Conventions on Corruption and its five focal points.
Recall that the House of Representatives had recently raised concerns over the alleged diversion of funds meant for arms purchase by former military chiefs.