At the ANEEJ-SERAP pre-GFAR Consultative meeting in Abuja 26th October 2017, the Federal government of Nigeria announced that it had recovered $USS85million of the Malabu deal. Other groundbreaking remarks and commitments from the Nigerian Government which the announcement above seemed to overshadow are contained in the speech by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon Abubakar Malami, SAN.
Here’s the whole speech:
OPENING REMARKS BY THE HONOURABLE ATTORNEY- GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE, ABUBAKAR MALAMI, SAN AT THE PRE-GLOBAL FORUM ON ASSET RECOVERY (GFAR) CONSULTATIVE MEETING HELD ON THE 26TH OCTOBER, 2017 AT THE REIZ CONTINENTAL HOTEL, ABUJA.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria,
The Switzerland Ambassador to Nigeria,
Representative of the United States Ambassador to Nigeria,
Representative of the World Bank Group,
Representative of Mc Arthur Foundation, Mr. Kole Shettima,
Representative of the UNODC,
Representative of the UNDP,
The Incoming Chairman, ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye,
The Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ),
Heads of various Civil Society Organization here present,
Media Practitioners here present,
All Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure I welcome you to this Pre-GFAR Consultative Meeting.
I will start by thanking the organizers of this meeting, and all those who have provided necessary support for the Pre-GFAR meeting in Nigeria. No doubt, this meeting provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on the issue of asset recovery to articulate a common position as we head to Washington from December 4th – 6th, 2017 for the GFAR meeting.
We have implemented the:
- i) Treasury Single Account (TSA); and
- ii) Bank Verification Number (BVN) amongst others.
Through these processes saved trillions of Naira by consolidating several accounts which were previously managed by different government institutions and at the same time closed the opportunities for embezzlement of public funds. Under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption implementation mechanism, Nigeria was Peer Reviewed in May, 2017 by Myanmar and Cote D’Ivoire in the first year of the second cycle which covers areas of Preventive Measures and Asset Recovery. I am pleased to say that there was robust participation by Civil Society Organization which signifies our transparency and accountability.
Nigeria has also implemented the United Nations Convention Against Corruption requirement through the development of National Strategy on Anti-Corruption. The National Strategy on Anti-Corruption was adopted by Nigerian citizens and has been approved by the Federal Executive Council on the 5th July, 2017. It is to be launched by Mr. President’s as chief coordinator of the implementation of the strategy in due course. We are currently reviewing our anti-corruption laws, and the government has signed the Open Government Partnership initiative and completed the National Action Plan for its practical implementation in Nigeria. This action plan is also proposed to be launched by Mr. President very soon. It is pertinent to state at this point that recovery and repatriation of ourstolen wealth stashed abroad continues to be very tedious despite several bilateral and multilateral agreements entered into between Nigeria and other jurisdictions. Even when the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption oblige State Parties to facilitate the return of stolen assets to victim states, countries including Nigeria are saddled with some challenges. My Office has also put in place necessary machineries to hold bilateral talks with countries of interest during the Global Forum on Asset Recovery. These countries include United Kingdom, Island of Jersey, Guernsey (and other UK Territories), United State of America, Canada, Switzerland, South Africa, Panama, United Arab Emirates, Northern Island and Gambia.
Nigeria is more than willing to support the transparent return of stolen assets but we also want to see the international community improve on procedure for faster return of our assets to enable us meet the sustainable development goals. It is pertinent to inform that Nigeria was selected as one of the four countries to be focused on at the 1st Global Forum on Asset Recovery Meeting at Washington. It has therefore become necessary for Nigeria to articulate its position in order to maximize the gains at the Global Forum of Asset Recovery. The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has coordinated the preparations bringing on board all government agencies whose mandate falls within the purview of asset recovery. I also hope that this forum will provide additional opportunity to articulate these goals.
On this note, we welcome partnership with the Civil Society Organizations and media groups. This administration will continue to partner with stakeholders in a constructive manner and please feel free to ask for information on matters that are of interest to you in Nigeria and the office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation will ensure that necessary response is made available. That is why Nigeria enacted the Freedom of Information Act to make governance transparent and to make heads of government institutions accountable.
ABUBAKAR MALAMI, SAN
Honourable Attorney-General of the
Federation and Minister of Justice
26th October, 2017