The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu on Friday said looters now stash illicit funds in African countries such as Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon, South Africa, Niger Republic, Morocco and others.
He said the preferred destinations for looters have traditionally been the United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Seychelles but they have started expanding down home to African countries.
Magu made the disclosures at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and its Niger Republic counterpart, the High Authority Against Corruption and Relating Crimes (HALCIA) in Niamey.
He said: “From available intelligence and our investigations, it has been revealed that looters from Nigeria now go to Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Niger Republic, Morocco, Seychelles and so on, to stash their loots.
“This has led to sharp increase in the number of Nigerians buying properties in African countries.
“Nigerians “even go to the extent of changing their names and acquiring the destination countries’ international passports in collusion with corrupt public officers in their countries of residence in order to hide their identities and evade detection.”
He said: “the fight of the EFCC against looters’ safe havens is total.”
The EFCC boss further disclosed his visit to Niger Republic was part of his continuing tour at mobilizing international efforts against looters’ safe havens.
He added: “We have already visited Ghana and Cameroun, today we are in Niger Republic and we will continue to reach out to other preferred looters destinations in Africa and beyond.
“Interestingly, the efforts of the Nigerian Government to trace, recover and return assets stolen from Nigeria coupled with our increased advocacy to discourage safe havens have begun to yield results.
“It is my conviction that our collaborative efforts will go a long way in eliminating safe havens.
“In fact, this is in tandem with renewed global commitment by countries to shut their doors to stolen funds.
“I also want to call for conscious measures to sanitize and strengthen the legal framework so as to make it difficult for looters to transfer illicit funds to Niger Republic for investment or whatever purpose.”
He called on the global community to urgently redouble its efforts towards strengthening the mechanisms for dismantling safe havens for proceeds of corruption.
He also called on the international community to ensure the return of stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.
According to a statement by Acting Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, the MoU will strengthen the collaborative efforts between the Nigerian front row anti-corruption agency and that of its Niger Republic counterpart.
HALCIA, which is the agency in charge of the prevention and fight against corruption and related offences in Niger Republic was established by the country’s Law No 2016-44 of December 06, 2016.
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