Transparency International (TI) says it has traced an estimated $5 billion stolen from Nigeria to some frozen accounts in foreign countries.
It disclosed this in Abuja during a media workshop organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), local chapter of the TI in Nigeria.
The CISLAC policy advisor, Vaclav Prusa, said Nigeria was responsible for the highest illicit financial flow in Africa, adding that the estimated amount lost annually in Nigeria was between $18 and $25 billion.
Prusa added that should the $5 billion be returned to Nigeria, it would cover 20 per cent of the country’s 2021 budget for three months.
“In the case of Nigeria, it is estimated that $5 billion stolen assets are frozen. What does this mean? It means this is money sitting somewhere in Switzerland or somewhere waiting for reparation,” Prusa said.
“It means even though some money have been repatriated from New Jersey, Switzerland back to Nigeria, there is a lot of money still out there. I think it’s important to rely on the media to push for these assets.”
Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said lack of transparency with regard to recovered funds in the country created room for re-looting and mismanagement.
“Currently, various institutions like the EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Code of Conduct Bureau, Nigeria Customs Service, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Nigeria police, and other agencies recover assets without synergy,” Rafsanjani said.
“This lack of transparency in respect of recovered assets in Nigeria creates room for re-looting and mismanagement. The much-awaited Proceeds of Crime management Bill has not yet been signed into law, supposedly because of the power struggle within agencies about economically and politically lucrative mandate to confiscate and manage stolen assets.
“CISLAC plans to work with the media to uncover national and international cases of stolen corrupt assets with links to politically exposed persons. These assets need to be recovered, better utilised for a post COVID-19 economic recovery.”
On March 9, the United Kingdom had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government to return £4.2 million loot recovered from James Ibori, former governor of Delta, and his associates.
N5bn Debt: AMCON Takes Over Mansions Of Ex-Gov Abdulfatah Ahmed
The Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has taken over some houses belonging to former Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed of Kwara State over a N5 billion debt.
The property is located at No. 9A Abdulrazaq Street, GRA, Ilorin.
Jude Nwazor, spokesman of AMCON, confirmed this to Daily Trust in a telephone chat.
He, however, said the debt was a personal one by the former governor.
Nwazor said all efforts to peacefully resolve the loan had been frustrated by the former governor which left AMCON no other choice than to seek justice in court.
Ahmed, who succeeded former Senate President Bukola Saraki, governed Kwara between 2011 and 2019.
Currently, he is not holding any political office.
But some hours ago, he joined forces with some prominent Nigerians to establish a Third Force known as the Rescue Nigeria Project (RNP).
Buhari Orders FIRS To Tax Digital Transactions
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the deployment of technology to tax all digital transactions carried out across the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this at the 17th General Assembly and 10th anniversary of the West Africa Tax Administration Forum (WATAF) in Abuja Tuesday.
The assembly is a high-level policy dialogue on taxation of the digital economy, organised by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The SGF said the President gave the order to tax authority to ensure digital transactions were taxed digitally, and the goal of their efforts was to achieve seamless digital collection and remittance of tax revenue accrued from the digital economy.
He said the President had directed the deployment of technology to good effect in revenue collection and remittance as a matter of government policy.
The SGF said this is supported by the amendment to the tax laws and empowering the tax authority to deploy technology in tax.
Mustapha said: “Our definition of what to collect- whether we call it income tax, Digital Service Tax or Value Added Tax, must address the issue of redefining who a taxable person or entity is, to accommodate the fact that digital transactions side-track the ordinary and traditional understanding of jurisdiction.”
In his remarks, the Chairman of FIRS, Mr Mohammed Nami called for collaborative efforts among African states to generate income from digital-oriented businesses.
He said: “Tax regulators and other industry stakeholders must therefore rise up to the challenge of being in a position to tap into the stream of opportunity that advancements in science and technology afford us. Science and Technology is not only about rockets going to space, it is also about effective tax collection and we must maximize it in every possible way we can.”
Buhari wants petroleum, finance ministers removed from NNPC board
President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to remove the ministers of Finance and Petroleum from the board of the soon-to-be incorporated board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.)
The request is contained in his letter seeking an amendment to the recently enacted Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
He also asked the Senate to confirm appointments made for the boards of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and two other federal agencies.
These are the Upstream Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority..
The President on Sunday named a nine-member board for the NNPC Ltd headed by Senator Ifeanyi Araraume.
The President’s letter titled “Forwarding administrative structure amendments to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 was read to Senators by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, during yesterday’s plenary.
He listed three sections of the PIA that he wants to be amended as 11(2)(b) and 34(2)(b); 11(2)(f-g) and 34(2)(f-g); as well as 11(3).
The President explained in the letter that amendments to the sections were needed to make for seamless administrative structure in the Act.
He also cited unbalanced geo-political representation as a reason for his request to remove the ministers of Finance and Petroleum from the NNPC Ltd. board.
A part of the letter reads, “I wish to forward to the Senate the attached Administrative Structure Amendments of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 for your kind consideration and approval.
“Having carefully reviewed the administrative structure of both the Commission and the Authority; I would like to propose the following amendments to the PIA 2021:
“Appointment of non-executive board members: The Petroleum Industry Act 2021 provided for the appointment of two non-executive members for the board of the two regulatory institutions.
“I am of the view that this membership limitation has not addressed the principle of balanced geopolitical representation of the country, therefore, I pray for the intervention of the 9th Assembly to correct this oversight in the interest of our national unity.
“Needless to add that this amendment will provide a sense of participation and inclusion to almost every section of the country in the decision-making of strategic institutions such as the oil industry.
“If this amendment is approved, it will now increase the number of the non-executive members from two to six that is one person from each of the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“Removal of the Ministries of Petroleum and Finance from the board of the two institutions:
The proposed amendment will increase the membership of the board from nine to 13 that is representing a 44 percent expansion of the board site.
“This composition would strengthen the institutions and guarantee national spread and also achieve he expected policy contributions.
“The two ministries already have constitutional responsibilities of either supervision or inter-governmental relations. They can continue to perform such roles without being on the board.
“It is also important to note that administratively, the representatives of the ministries in the board will be Directors – being the same rank with the Directors in the institution. This may bring some complications in some decision making especially on issues of staff-related matters.
“Appointment of Executive Directors: The Act has made provision for seven Departmental Heads in the Authority to be known as Executive Directors. Their appointment will also be subject to Senate confirmation. This category of officers is civil servants and not political appointees.
“The Senate is invited to note the need to exempt serving public officers from the established confirmation process for political appointments.
“This will ensure effective management of the regulatory Institutions through the uniform implementation of public service rules for employees of the Authority. In the future, these positions will obviously be filled by the workers in the authority.”
Also yesterday, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said in a statement that the names of the EFCC, the Upstream Regulatory Commission, and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority board members were contained in another letter to the Senate
Adesina’s statement partly read, “Nominees for the EFCC board are George Abang Ekpungu from Cross River State (secretary); Lukman Muhammed, (Edo); Anumba Adaeze (Enugu); Alhaji Kola Adesina (Kwara); and Alhaji Yahaya Muhammad (Yobe).
“For the upstream Regulatory Commission, Isa Ibrahim Modibbo is nominated as chairman; Gbenga Komolafe, chief executive; Hassan Gambo, executive commissioner in charge of Finance and Accounts; and Rose C. Ndong, executive commissioner, Exploration and Acreage Management.
“Chairman nominee of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority is Idaere Gogo Ogan; Sarki Auwalu, chief executive; Abiodun Adeniji, executive director in charge of Finance and Accounts; and Ogbugo Ukoha, executive director, Distributions Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure.”
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