Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama has accused developed countries of encouraging corruption in Africa.
While speaking on Tuesday at the 2nd Abuja International Conference on combating illicit financial flows and enhancing asset recovery for sustainable development, the minister said the developed countries were not concerned with the source of money flowing into their economies from Africa.
He said the Swiss law which encourages banking secrecy, protects corrupt individuals who engage in illicit financial transactions.
“Large sums of money has been found in Jersey and other countries and have been there for years and we have not been able to get the money back.
“We got some money back from Switzerland but when I got the details, I was shocked and extremely angry at the process of recovery. If you see the percentage of money that eventually came back to us, it was meagre as a result of all kinds of deductions, to lawyers and others. It is a day light robbery that these countries are perpetuating,” the minister lamented.
Onyeama who noted that the money going out of Africa through the backdoor was huge, said by 2014, illicit financial flow from emerging economies was put at $1tr.
He lamented that reports had it that illicit financial outflow from Sub-Sahara Africa alone ranged from 5.3% to 9.9% of total trade of 2014, stressing that the figure is higher than any region of the world.
According to him, the impact of this on developing countries could not be overemphasised as it is affecting the pace of development in the region.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari was making efforts to tackle the menace of illicit financial flows, adding that the whistle blower policy had exposed several illicit assets within and outside the country.
On his part, Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said illicit financial transactions should attract the same global attention as terrorism, human trafficking and drug trafficking.
Osinbajo who was represented at the event by Ambasador Yemi Dipeolu, the Special Adviser to the president on Economic matters, assured of the federal government’s commitment to the fight against illicit financial flows from the region.