The Human and Environmental Development Agenda has said assets and funds worth more than $400m stolen from Nigeria were stashed in the United Arab Emirates.
The leading anti-graft group explained that out of the 800 assets uncovered by investigators, 216 assets were linked to 13 top security officials, while the remaining 584 have been traced to public officials.Speaking at a conference on ‘Fixing Financial Flows: A critical review of UK and UAE Policies, Laws and practices in Financial and Non-financial Institutions,’ held at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja on Tuesday, the Chairman of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraju, said the illicit financial outflows from Nigeria have continued to hurt the vulnerable poor, fuel violence and constitute threats to moral authority of the Nigerian state.
“Of the 800 Nigerian stolen illicit assets lodged in UAE, 13 security officials own 216 of them while 584 of the remaining assets are owned by Nigerian public officials,’ he noted.
Suraju said the UAE and the United Kingdom had been facing attacks for failing to live up to international obligations in curbing illicit financial flow, mainly perpetrated by politically exposed persons.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the summit, participants said the UAE and UK
represented some of the hosts of illicit financial flow from Nigeria estimated at $17billion every year.The statement signed by Suraju noted that “Politically-exposed persons are not just politicians but also their families while enablers of illicit financial flow include dealers in precious minerals, professionals who enhance and sustain illicit financial flows. Nigeria should progressively review her international obligations like the UN Conventions on Corruption which has five focal points which included international cooperation, technical assistance, asset recovery and the mutual legal assistance.”
Speaking at the summit, the Deputy Country Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Dayo Olaide said while transparent elections remained a momentous step towards probity and good governance, it was disturbing that public enthusiasm towards election was fading.