• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Ensure smooth repatriation of stolen funds, FG tells countries involved

Ensure smooth repatriation of stolen funds, FG tells countries involved

The Federal Government(FG) has called on member countries of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF)  to “ensure the smooth repatriation of proceeds of corruption to the economies from where they were stolen”.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made the call at the opening of the 18th Ministerial Committee Meeting of the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa in Abuja, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports. FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its member jurisdictions and is a policy-making body.

READ ALSO: Alleged money laundering: $2.2m Adoke gave me was for loan repayment – Witness

The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. Osinbajo, therefore, said that it was pertinent for member countries of the FATF to regard the objectives of the task force and make easy the process of the repatriation of stolen funds.

“Despite numerous mutual legal assistance treaties and conventions, it is obvious that we are not making the sort of progress that we expect to see. “It is unconscionable, in our view, to have stolen funds in a bank within the jurisdiction of a FATF country and to have to go through a rigorous obstacle force to retrieve the funds and even when such funds are to be returned, after several years, humiliating conditions are attached.

READ ALSO: We did not drop charges against Adoke over OPL 245 – EFCC

“It is the view of Nigeria that FATF countries must, as a matter of respect for the spirit of our collaboration and with the same efficiency and zero tolerance for quibbling, ensure the smooth repatriation of proceeds of corruption to the economies from where they were stolen.” He, however, commended the efforts of several countries in facilitating the fight against corruption in the country and the sub-region, adding that such cooperation contributed to the fight against illicit financial crimes.

“We must commend the United Kingdom, Norway, Netherlands and Denmark for leading the way in establishing public registers of the real human owners of companies in their countries. “We cannot have anonymous ownership of companies’ trust and other arrangements designed to cover the ownership of assets and at the same time expect optimal results from anti-money laundering measures.”

The vice president also called on G8 and G20 countries to initiate actions to “end corporate secrecy in some of their dependencies”.