Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), yesterday attributed the poor condition of the economy to illicit activities of persons who engage in money laundering. He disclosed this during an address at a three day conference on financial fraud and cross border crimes, organised by the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja. Malami added that the total loss incurred by Nigeria’s financial system from 2012 to 2014 could be in excess of N64 billion.
The AGF also pointed out that another area of organised crime in Nigeria is “illicit funds flow” saying, a report compiled by the presidency in 2013 identified a total of over $33.144 billion (N20.6 billion) illicit flows during the period of 2000-2013, of which over $7.456 were proceeds of corruption and embezzlement in Nigeria.
“As you all know, illicit funds transfer has a number of severe effects on a country like Nigeria. It drains the country’s foreign exchange reserves, reduces tax base, increases poverty levels, increases insecurity as a potential source of terror funding, and hurts the country’s international image,” Malami said.
The country’s Chief Law Officer further revealed that $2 trillion had been confiscated and recovered by anti-graft agencies, which included the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the past 12 years. He, however, reiterated government’s readiness to tackle the problems in a holistic manner by setting up justice reform initiatives for 2016 to 2019. On his part, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, said corruption remains one of the greatest challenges of the century, and urged the government to tackle it head-on. The British envoy noted that tackling corruption requires institutional framework and attitudinal change amongst citizens of the country.
“Corruption undoubtedly is one of the challenges of our time; a challenge which Nigeria is unfortunately familiar with. “Addressing that challenge is essential to the future of the country; failing to do so will be to ensure further decades of poverty, inequality, reputational damage overseas, massively reduced external investment and an undermining of the huge potential represented by Nigerian youth,” Arkwright said.