VP Yemi Osinbajo Laments Difficulties in Repatriation of Laundered Funds
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed concern over what he termed as “humiliating conditions” attached to the repatriation of proceeds of corruption by financial institutions of the western nations.
He also lamented the risk of dangers posed by “the corporate anonymous owners’’ of laundered funds describing it as a global challenge that needed global approach to tackle.
“The other issue is the risk of the dangers posed by anonymous corporate ownership. If nothing else, the Panama Papers and now the Paradise papers clearly illustrate the global scale and spread of this problem. So this is a global challenge and nothing less than a truly global approach will be needed to tackle it”, he said.
Osinbajo stated this on Saturday, November 18, 2017 while declaring open the 18th GIABA Ministerial Committee, GMC, meeting at Sheraton Hotels and Towers, Abuja.
The GMC is the policy making organ, which comprises of the three GIABA line ministers from all member States – Ministers of Finance, Security/Interior and Justice. The meeting would consider and adopt the Director General’s Summary Activity Report and the Report of the 28th GIABA Technical Commission/Plenary, among others.
Osinbajo called for drastic measures to be taken by member nations in combating money laundering and terrorism financing within the African continent adding that “its effects are usually devastating”
“It is clear that without dealing a lethal blow to those powerful criminal networks that funnel money to terrorist groups, we cannot reasonably hope to completely obliterate the threat of terrorism and other organized criminal activity in our sub-region”, he said.
He commended the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) for the support to member States in implementing robust Anti-Money laundering and terrorist financing measures in line with acceptable international standards, particularly the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, recommendations.
The Vice President, while calling on western countries to repatriate laundered funds to countries from where they were stolen said, “It is the view of Nigeria that FATF countries must, as a matter of respect for the spirit of our collaboration, and with the same efficiency and zero tolerance for quibbling, ensure the smooth repatriation of proceeds of corruption to the economies from where they were stolen.
Earlier, in his address of welcome, the Chairman GMC, Sani Yaya, commended the efforts of Buhari’s administration in checking illicit flow of looted funds within the sub-region.
Yaya, who is also the Minister of Finance Republic of Togo, particularly lauded the steps taken by the Nigeria government on the introduction of the Treasury Single Account, TSA, as well as the Bank Verification Number, BVN.
Speaking, Director General GIABA, Col Adama Coulibaly, noted that the Committee is meeting for the second time this year to examine, inter alia, the state of implementation of the member States’ mutual evaluation programs under the second cycle, and to adopt the recommendations of the 28th Plenary Meeting of the GIABA Technical Commission, in order to enable the Secretariat to rapidly mainline them into its strategy of intervention and assistance to States.
He thanked the federal government for its great concern and for all the facilities made available to the various delegations during the period of the meeting.
“Our most respectful thanks, along with our greatest consideration, are addressed with respect to HE Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for the honor done to GIABA by accepting the holding here in Abuja, of this 18th meeting of the GIABA Ministerial Committee”, Coulibaly said.
In her keynote address, Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun, called on stakeholders to work together towards achieving the set objectives of fighting money laundering and terrorism financing describing it as serious threat to the entire continent.
“These twin menaces have adverse impact on the economy and political stability of the region and hence, such activities must be curbed with all seriousness”, she said.
Adeosun, who spoke through Mahmud Dutse, a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, assured of the determination of the present government to comprehensively shield the Nigeria from the menace of money laundering and terrorism financing.
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