Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, has called for stringent actions against perpetrators of illicit financial flows, including the crackdown on safe havens.
Femi Adesina, the president’s special advisor on Media and Publicity, said in a statement released in Abuja on Sunday, 11 November 2018, that Buhari made the call at the first edition of the Paris Peace Forum, held on the sidelines of the Centenary of Armistice Day.
Buhari warned that continuous impunity would encourage more pilfering of countries’ resources to the detriment of the poor and vulnerable populace.
The President said Nigeria had strengthened its laws and institutions to fight corruption, fast-track recovery of stolen assets and punish offenders, urging more commitment from governments and international institutions.
He delivered his statement on Illicit Financial Flows (Iffs) and Corruption: The Challenge of Global Governance during the event, attended by about 70 world leaders and governments.
He said: “We must crack down on safe havens for corrupt assets. I also advocate sanctions by professional bodies against transactional middlemen (lawyers, bankers, brokers, public officials, etc.) who facilitate Illicit Financial Flows. I would like to reiterate that the government of Nigeria remains open and is ever-willing to continue to identify and share experiences and strategies to give life to the ideas that will lead to winning the fight against corruption,”
The Nigerian leader noted that illicit financial flows posed a risk to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to him, this is so as many countries grapple with the challenge of gathering resources to improve their Human Development Index, while a few privileged individuals continue to explore the weaknesses in financial systems. He urged world leaders and global institutions to remain resolute on the Global Declaration Against Corruption made in London in 2016.
He observed that the declaration had encapsulated the collective commitment to the principles of Open Government Partnership, especially the National Action Plans to actualize beneficial ownership transparency and enhance the capacity of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs).
Buhari said the Independent Reporting Mechanisms and support for the activities of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes should be reinforced.
“As we take stock of the strengths and weaknesses of domestic, regional and international mechanisms against Illicit Financial Flows, I seize this opportunity to recall the Global Declaration Against Corruption made in London in 2016 and our commitment thereto,” he added.
He added that progress had been achieved through the enactment of global instruments, noting that some fundamental technical issues remain unresolved.