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Thursday, 2 March 2017

Osinbajo seeks international collaboration for return of stolen assets


Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday in Abuja canvassed robust international collaboration for the return of Nigeria’s stolen assets abroad.
Osinbajo made the plea while opening a two-day National Dialogue on Corruption, organised by the Office of the Vice President and the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC).
According to him, the effort at fighting corruption in the country was being delayed by the long and complicated response of the international community.
`The last point I want to make is with respect to international cooperation.
“I think that one of the critical issues that we have discovered in our fight against corruption is that we need much more robust international cooperation, especially with respect to return of assets.
“We find that the process of returning assets, aside from the judicial process, is so difficult and so complicated that it could just take you literally years to get assets returned.
“And I think that it is important for countries of the world where stolen assets are located to really work with us in ensuring that these assets are returned speedily.
“I know that the United Kingdom is working with us in particular on this issue of beneficiary register.
“That will be extremely useful for us because we will now be able to discover who is behind some of the names of companies and other shelves that are used to hide stolen assets.’’
Osinbajo observed that the International Criminal Court was one of the great deterrents for countries with bad leaders as the court was ready to hold people to account.
He said the international community should work with Nigeria in like manner to end corruption that had been the bane of its development.
Osinbajo said corrupt practices would be punished wherever they are found, adding that stolen property and assets should be returned speedily.
The Acting President said that corruption thrives where it is allowed to thrive and affects the social, religious and economic lives of the people.
Osinbajo said the fight against corruption was also made difficult when the people saw that there were no consequences and hence joined in the ugly trend.
He suggested that agencies of government should identify models of fighting corruption that had worked in the past and apply them in other anti-corruption programmes or endeavours.
He called for the partnership of the executive, legislature, judiciary and civil society organizations to end the vice, noting that “our nation cannot survive the level of corruption in the society’’.
He advised Nigerians to avoid “finger-pointing’’ which he identified as unnecessary.
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