January 22, 2021

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Why Looted Assets Are Difficult To Recover – EFCC 

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The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, yesterday said Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) from Nigeria to financial secrecy jurisdictions abroad are difficult to recover. Daily Trust reports that illicit cash flows from Nigeria, that ends up in such Safe Havens amounts to about $17 billion yearly, according to the Global Financial Integrity report.
Secrecy jurisdictions are set up with laws that hide the beneficial owners of assets using shell companies, often to hide the proceeds of crimes. It is also said to be used for tax evasion, tax avoidance and transfer pricing by multinational companies and organized criminal syndicates to hide or launder illicit funds, mostly from developing countries.
These financial secrecy jurisdictions are usually in westerns countries with complex banking and financial market systems, which include: the British Virgin Islands, Jersey Island, Switzerland, Panama, Cayman Islands and Luxemburg among others. Magu spoke at a roundtable in Abuja to commemorate the African Union (AU) Second Anti-Corruption Day, themed: Towards a Common African Position on Asset Recovery decried that proceeds of corruption from Africa end up in safe havens across the globe.
He stated that “We often have challenges in recovery of the assets stashed away in some of these countries,” noting that “Africa needs all her assets back!” He said, “Unity among nations in the African continent is critical in demanding the recovery and return of stolen assets,” adding that, “we also, need accountability and transparency in the utilization of returned assets.” Magu stated that Africa has come to the realization that one person, continent, agency or country alone cannot fight corruption and win.
“When government agencies, different bodies, continents and countries partner and synergise on collaborative ventures like this, the benefits are enormous,” Magu said. He said stakeholders must reflect on the challenges of asset recovery in Africa and solicit contributions and support in the development of a Common African Position on Asset Recovery.

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