Nigeria has been called out again. This time, it is by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center, CISLAC over a recent update by the International Financial Intelligence on the increase of corruption in Nigeria, making the west African giant the worst in illicit financial flows offenders in Africa.
This negative mention is not coming without its pain as according to CISLAC, Nigeria now loses about $18billion annually to tax evasion, money laundering, and other related offenses. It has been detected that most of these illicit financial flow occurs more with foreign remittances.
In essence, it is important to note that based on the current exchange rate, the stated amount when converted is over ₦6 trillion which is sufficient enough to fund a significant portion of the country’s current annual budget.
These statistics have also raised a pointer that practitioners in the Judiciary over the years have contributed to these crimes festering. According to CISLAC, ‘reputable’ law firms and other middlemen, are used to defrauding Nigerians of billions of dollars that should have been used to counter abject poverty, insecurity, and abysmal service delivery in the country.
CISLAC Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musai in a recently held media workshop for investigative journalists tagged “Effective Reporting of the Asset Recovery and Management System in Nigeria,” in Lagos urged the Federal Government to unravel this irregularity through a legal framework, a central database where citizens can access financial records.
The involvement of Chief Security Officers, the media, and other critical non-state actors in the recovery, management, and utilisation of the stolen assets was also proposed by the group.
CISLAC’s proposal for curbing these excesses
Synergy in the fight against corruption is the way to go according to CISLAC. Beyond recovery, tranperency in the process was also emphazised.
CISLAC’s Statement below,
“The Nigerian public needs to be convinced that these recoveries are not just another loot used for political survival and the self-enrichment of those in power. Currently, various institutions like the Economic and Financial Crime Commission EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau, Nigeria Customs Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency NDLEA, the Nigerian Police Force, and other agencies recover assets without synergy.
“The non-transparency in respect of recovered assets in Nigeria creates room for re-looting and mismanagement. The much-awaited Proceeds of the Crime management Bill have not yet been signed into law, supposedly because of the power tussle within agencies about economically and politically lucrative mandate to confiscate and manage stolen assets. Lack of transparency in the management of these assets provides ample room for corruption and mismanagement in “re-looting” of the looted assets,”.