1 November, 2017.
Abuja, Nigeria…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has applauded the verdict of a French court in confiscating all property linked to Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, vice-president of Equatorial Guinea and son of the President and handing him a suspended three-year prison sentence and a suspended fine of USSD$35million for embezzling over $174million of Equatorial Guinean public monies spent on a luxurious lifestyle and property in France. The confiscated monies and property are to be returned and put to use for the benefit of the people of Equatorial Guinea.
Congratulating French Transparency International and Sherpa for resilience in helping to bring Obiang to justice on behalf of the people of Equatorial Guinea, ANEEJ executive director, the Rev David Ugolor said that the Obiang example is a signal to African Kleptomaniacs that the era of impunity is coming to an end.
‘Our resolve to work assiduously with the international community to help with the return of Nigerian wealth stolen and stashed abroad just received a boost with the verdict in France. Like EG, Nigerian wealth is stolen by public officials and spent on property abroad and on luxury living while a great many of our people wallow in abject poverty and deprivation. That culture will end soon in Nigeria’, said ANEEJ the Rev Ugolor.
A major thrust of the recent pre-GFAR meeting which ANEEJ organized with SERAP in anticipation of the GFAR summit billed for December in Washington DC is to build an enduring framework upon which to recover all Nigerian monies stashed abroad.
‘We are working very hard at this because we recognize that without an enduring framework for asset recovery, assets seized and returned will not normally be put to the benefit of the victims of such monumental heist of public funds. We reiterate our call on the Nigerian government to quickly put the relevant laws on asset management in place, and divest its interest from returned assets to a separate institution for the management of those assets’, the Rev Ugolor said.
Among African leaders who have stolen from their countries include the late Sanni Abacha, who is reported to have embezzled over USD$500m and stashed the monies in offshore safe havens.