Names of Treasury Looters to be Released

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Names of Treasury Looters to be Released

Postby Richard Akindele » Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:25 pm

The Economic and Fina-ncial Crimes Commis-sion (EFCC) yesterday said it would soon publish names of past and present leaders that had looted the nation's treasury and stashed away the ill-gotten wealth in foreign accounts.

Chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who said this in Lagos at a lecture organised by the Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), explained that the disclosure would enhance the commission's campaign against corrupt politicians who were waiting in the wings to take power in 2007.

"Over $400 billion oil money has been stolen by bad leaders. We are going to trace the activities of past and present leaders and publish the names of those leaders who have laundered money, their accounts and the names of the banks where the money is being kept.

"We will also close the account of those politicians who have laundered money and converted it for their political ambitions. This will stop bad people from coming into power", he threatened.

He said the commission would monitor closely the use of revenue allocated to the three tiers of government to ensure that the money was not laundered.

According to Ribadu, what most of the governors get from the Federation Account monthly is enough to develop their states but regretted that instead of applying the funds for the good of the public, they disappeared into private bank accounts.

He said: "There are a lot of cases of government officials who connived with banks to steal government money. This money is being converted and transferred to other countries.

"Over 80 percent of Nigeria's money has gone to waste. This is a country with massive resources but people are suffering simply because we have poor management."

He said his commission would surprise corrupt leaders. "We respect people but there is no reason why people should respect a thief. If the leaders reduce themselves to cheap goat, we will discipline them," he stated.

Maintaining that the commission was ready to deal decisively with bank officials who connived with government officials to steal money, Ribadu disclosed that EFCC would within two weeks take up a Managing Director of one of the big banks in the country.

Though he refused to disclose the name of the managing director, he nonetheless vowed to remove all fraudsters from the banking sector.

"We are working to reduce corruption in the country. If we clean the banking sector, we may have helped to clean other sectors", he said.

The EFCC chairman noted that there were some bank officials that were dedicated to the convicted former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, that were helping him to launder his looted funds.

He said these were the type of bank officials that often went directly to government officials to assist them to transfer stolen money.

Ribadu also spoke on the plight of the Niger Delta region and blamed it largely on the corrupt leadership from the area.

According to him, "If you go to the Niger Delta, you will see what community leaders are doing with the money. One of the governors of the Niger Delta that was arrested was discovered to have close to N50 billion in his foreign account".

Speaking on 'Combating Money Laundering in Emerging Economies: Nigeria as Case Study', Ribadu listed the challenges facing the commission to include attitudinal fixations and societal tolerance of corrupt conduct, insufficient commitment by all tiers of government, attempt to blackmail and politicise the work of EFCC, constitutional constraints and lack of cooperation by some countries in loot recovery.

Even with these challenges, he said, the commission in the past three years had arrested and investigated over 5,000 people for various crimes within the purview of the commission, adding that over 350 cases were at advanced stages of prosecution in several courts in Nigeria.

He said: "We have recorded 82 convictions for corruption, money laundering, advance fee fraud, pipeline vandalism and terrorism with some of them involving top government functionaries.

"We have facilitated the seizure and confiscation of assets worth over $5 billion and refunded to government agencies, private sector institutions and victims of crime around the world. The fight against money laundering constitute a ground for securing debt relief from the Paris Club."

The EFCC boss maintained that the commission was going beyond cleansing the economic environment, to actively working to prevent known corrupt politicians from holding power.

He said the recent delisting from the FATF list was a clear indication that Nigeria was doing everything possible to take money laundering head-on.

According to him, Nigeria lost an estimated $12 billion annually since its placement on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) list in June 2001.

Ribadu, who commended the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, said the commission would not have recorded any success if the President had not given it his full support.

He said: "Nobody is 100 percent perfect but Obasanjo is above average. He has never asked us to leave anybody because they are his friends. We have arrested his close friends, governors, ministers, others but he has not asked us to leave anybody.

"After Obasanjo, the next person we should celebrate in Nigeria is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. She has done wonderfully well for this country. When the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) came to Nigeria, they were surprised at what we have done in the country. If not for Okonjo Iweala, it would have been so impossible to get it in Nigeria."

This Day.
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Nigeria to name leaders who 'stole' £212bn oil money

Postby Richard Akindele » Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:01 pm

Nigeria is braced for a major political shake-up after the country's financial crimes unit vowed to name and shame leaders it claims have looted up to £212bn in oil revenues from the treasury.

Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, head of the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC), said it was poised to publish the names of those, past and present, who siphoned state cash to foreign bank accounts, as it steps up its anti-corruption campaign ahead of elections expected next Spring.

"Over $400bn (£212bn) of oil money has been stolen by bad leaders. We are going to trace the activities of past and present leaders and publish the names of those leaders who have laundered money, their accounts and the names of the banks where money is being kept," Mr Ribadu said.

According to the international watchdog, Transparency International, Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, was the most corrupt in the world in 2003, and corruption is still endemic. Despite vast oil reserves, most Nigerians live in poverty and the oil-rich Niger Delta is in the grip of a mounting insurgency fuelled by local resentment.

The step from the financial crimes unit comes a week after the foreign minister and anti-corruption campaigner Ngozi Okonjo Iweala resigned after being sacked as head of the economic reform panel.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, who was credited with masterminding the cancellation of Nigeria's $18bn debt, step-ped down citing "a compelling need to take care of pressing family issues". However, the former World Bank vice-president was in London negotiating a new debt relief package when she heard the news of President Olusegun Obasanjo's decision to demote her. Her anti-corruption campaign, which saw Nigeria's top police officer jailed and a number of judges and senior customs officials sacked, brought her into conflict with the most powerful interests in the land.

Mr Ribadu said the commission would close the accounts of politicians who had "laundered money and converted it for their political ambitions". According to Mr Ribadu, what most of the governors receive is sufficient to develop their states but ends up in "private bank accounts". However, state governors claim they are being short changed by central government. Prior to her resignation, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala had begun publish ing federal payments on the Internet, making it one of the most visited Nigerian pages online.

"There are a lot of cases of government officials who connived with banks to steal government money," Mr Ribadu said. "This money is being converted and transferred to other countries. Over 80 per cent of Nigeria's money has gone to waste. This is a country with massive resources but people are suffering because we have poor management." The financial crimes boss stopped short of criticising the president, insisting that his support was helping them to combat a $12bn annual theft from state coffers.

The exit of Mrs Okonjo-Iweala sparked fears among analysts and the international community that President Obasanjo would begin to backslide on his commitment to reform Nigeria's corruption-based economy.

Under her stewardship, Nigeria became the first African country to be freed of its debt to the Paris club of rich nations last April, under a debt-relief deal that was supposed to clear the way for billions of dollars to be spent on reducing poverty. She won over the donor countries by arguing that Nigeria is a poor nation where most people live on less than 60p per day and one in five children does not reach the age of five.

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Postby Richard Akindele » Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:42 pm

"Over $400bn (£212bn) of oil money has been stolen by bad leaders"

Unbelievable!

Can you imagine how much advancement this kind of money could have brought to Nigeria if we actually have had leaders who loved their country, as opposed to self-serving crooks?

It's great that names are going to be released. But what good is it for us to know that? We are already aware of the fact that a lot of money has been stolen over several decades of mismanagement.

The real question everyone should be asking is, how did we make it so easy for these thieves to steal? And by extension, and most importantly, how can we prevent it from happening in future?

Let's face it, if you dump a lot of money on a few people without any kind of plan to track how it's being used, most people today would steal it. When I say most people, that includes you reading this right now. If you get an opportunity for enrichment with impunity, you'd do it.

While not exonerating the thieves of their despecable actions, the government is mostly to blame for a poor system.

The Nigerian system requires radical restructuring for tracking funds given to states.

Common Nigerian citizens are the losers in the current weak accountability system.

Obasanjo, when are Nigerians going to enjoy Nigeria's enormous wealth that you so called leaders have monopolized for over 50 years?

How do you so called leaders sleep at night knowing nothing works in a country you lead?

We need some answers.

To his credit, Obasanjo has done more for the nation in terms of cracking down on crime, than any Nigerian leader ever. Unfortunately, I doubt very much that even Obasanjo knows the scope of the problem, or what the real solution to it is. When a leader makes declarations such as a plan to send people to the moon, even though ordinary citizens don't have water to drink or food to eat, you begin to question that leader's sanity.
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