Benin City, Nigeria. November 4, 2019… The Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice ANEEJ is set to engage internationally acclaimed asset Recovery expert in Benin City Edo state, Aaron Bornstein, formerly Executive director of the BOTA Foundation of Kazakhstan, to examine Civil Society role in recalibrating returned assets to alleviate poverty. Mr. Bornstein, an anti-corruption consultant for the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative and other organizations has worked with the John Hopkins University’s “Philanthropication Thru Privatization” (P-t-P) program leading to the publication of two seminal works on stolen assets.

The Rev David Ugolor, ANEEJ executive director, told the media that in looking forward to this engagement, Mr Aaron Bornstein will meet with key government functionaries and CSOs in Nigeria to attend to issues related to global best practices in asset recovery.

‘Mr Bornstein has managed issues related to maintaining a balance between keeping BOTA’s money from being stolen or influenced by the Government of Kazakhstan. He also dealt with bureaucratic hurdles of reporting to the World Bank, three sovereign governments and an independent board’ the Rev Ugolor said.  

Part of what Mr Bornstein has been involved with, with the John Hopkins University includes the idea of formulating a coherent conceptualization of a Philanthropication Thru Privatization” program (P-t-P) and to identify the multiple forms it can take. The PtP model also seeks to investigate how related asset recovery scenarios came about, how they have been managed and what lessons can be gleaned therefrom.

‘At the ANEEJ Civil society engagement on Asset Recovery, we will be sitting down with Mr. Bornstein to evaluate how we can explore potentials for promoting the implementation of the PtP concept, and investigate how other asset recovery scenarios were managed. At this critical point of returned asset disbursement to the poorest of the poor, and a tinkering with how it can alleviate poverty in Nigeria, there will be a lot to gain from the interaction with an international expert on asset recovery as Mr Bornstein’, Rev Ugolor said.

In collaboration with Bank Information Centre and the International State Crime Initiative, Queen Mary University of London, ANEEJ organized a side event at the World Bank/IMF meeting in the US in October, 2019. That side event explored examples of asset return via World Bank projects in Nigeria and Kazakhstan. Issues discussed included CSO asset recovery experience in Nigeria and how Kazakhstan could learn from ANEEJ and Nigeria.

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