Abuja, Nigeria. March 22, 2019.. Global anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI)-France has invited the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ to share its experiences in asset recovery and management at the on-going asset recovery conference in Paris, France.
Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, Rev David Ugolor who is participating at the global meet is sharing ANEEJ’s 23 years’ experience in asset recovery and will be presenting key results achieved in the implementation of the “Transparency in the recovery and management of looted assets (MANTRA) project as sub-sect of the Anti-corruption in Nigeria (ACORN) programme of the British Department for International Development (DFID). The Mantra project is monitoring the repatriated $322.5million Abacha loot from Switzerland being spent by the Federal Government on the Conditional Cash Transfer for the poorest of the poor Nigerians.
The first goal TI France wants to achieve with the high-profile conference is to convince decision-makers that France needs a legal framework to repatriate stolen assets and that such returns are feasible in a responsible way. They are also raising the role of civil society and the need to include it at every step of assets return.
The conference is also looking at the applicability of the principles of Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) in different parts of the world, including Nigeria. It is reviewing experiences of different country cases, challenges as they relate to restitution and how to overcome them.
ANEEJ Executive Director, Rev David Ugolor is also expected to participate at a closed meeting at the French Senate on Thursday, March 21. The meeting to be facilitated by Dr. Juanita Olaya Garcia who has over 25 years of experience in the areas of good governance, sustainability, human rights and anti-corruption provides an opportunity for ANEEJ and other leading asset recovery activists to brainstorm on the implementation of the GFAR principles that should govern the allocation of assets derived from grand corruption in France.
The conference is opened to participants and audience consisting of MPs, public decision makers (mainly from the Ministry of Justice), and CSOs’ representatives. The law proposal will be debated on April 3rd and will be examined by the Finance Committee on March 27th. The conference is important to convince the MPs of the need for a legal framework on stolen assets restitution and on the feasibility of responsible repatriation.