Buhari’s Challenge To World Leaders On Looted Funds | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari’s Challenge To World Leaders On Looted Funds

Posted: Oct 12, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

editorial letter

President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent challenge to world leaders to strengthen mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption is a step in the right direction.

There is no doubt that by redoubling its efforts in this particular regard, the international community would help in reducing drastically, the increasingly worrisome rate at which looted funds from national countries are provided safe haven abroad.

It is disturbing that many countries serving as safe havens for looted funds have not shown enough co-operation and assistance when it comes to returning stolen funds and assets to countries of their origin. This is unacceptable.

We condemn all forms of corruption and cross- border financial crimes which have over the years, adversely affected the economies of African countries and the living standards of their citizens.

The increasing rate at which unpatriotic corrupt leaders, especially in African countries brazenly loot their countries’ treasuries and criminally freely move such public funds and assets to safe havens abroad should be stopped. If not effectively checked, the free movement of looted funds from national treasuries could further endanger the financial and economic health of such countries.

It is disheartening that those moving looted funds from countries of their origin to safe havens abroad do not realize that such funds are being used to develop the economies of the countries the looted funds are kept at the expense of the economies of countries from where the funds were looted. Those looting public funds and moving them for safe keeping abroad should be treated as economic saboteurs. They should be prosecuted and if found guilty, penalized to serve as a deterrent to others. The stealing of public funds by anybody no matter how highly placed, is a serious economic crime that deserves corresponding penalty. It is also a more serious financial crime if such stolen public funds are siphoned abroad to further develop the economies of advanced countries.

We recall with dismay that several years after his demise, successive administrations in Nigeria are yet to fully recover all the looted public funds the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha siphoned to different banks abroad. This is particularly because government has not received enough support from some of the countries serving as safe havens for such looted funds.

Countries serving as safe havens for looted funds should desist from encouraging looters of public funds whose nefarious activities are inimical to the economic interests of their respective countries. Any country that provides the enabling environment for looted finds and assets is an economic saboteur and should be regarded as such by the international community.

We therefore implore world leaders and the international community to pay urgent attention to blocking of unhindered movement of funds looted from national treasuries. This is a joint responsibility between the countries serving as safe havens for looted public funds and assets, as well as the countries fro where same were looted.

It is only effective and sustainable collaboration that would guarantee successful return of stolen funds and assets to countries of their origin.

Safe havens for looted funds should shun whatever gains they may be deriving from the largely condemnable global financial crime. World leaders and the international community should stop providing cover for shameless unpatriotic economic saboteurs keeping stolen public funds in safe havens abroad. Effective measures should be put in place to end cross-border financial crimes in view of the devastating effects on the fragile economies of countries from where public funds and assets have been stolen.

The effects of the raging economic sabotage on the economic growth, overall development and living conditions of the citizens in the affected countries are immeasurable.

Leaders in countries where stolen funds are siphoned to safe havens abroad should stop lamenting their avoidable plight. Instead, they should muster the political will by blocking the yawning loopholes that seem to encourage stealing of public funds, as well as the free movement of same abroad. When affective and realistic precautionary measures are in place to checkmate corrupt enrichment it will be difficult for anybody to steal public funds and move them to safe havens abroad.

The legal system should be modernized while those dispensing justice should not only be of proven integrity but should also be transparent in discharge of their duties. All anti-corruption agencies should be strengthened to ensure effective performance. All stolen funds and assets recovered from safe havens abroad should be duly accounted for to ensure transparency and accountability.

Finally, there is no sacrifice that is too much for world leaders and their countries to make to ensure the return of all looted funds and assets to their countries of origin.