Press Release

24th October, 2017

Benin City, NigeriaAhead of  the Global Forum on Stolen Assets Recovery, GFAR, summit billed to take place in Washington DC, December 2-4, 2017, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP have organized a pre-GFAR Summit in Abuja Nigeria, seeking to forge enduring alliances with friends from the international community and stakeholders in the media and government sectors.   

ANEEJ executive director, the Rev David Ugolor said that as part of events leading to the pre-GFAR Summit in Abuja,  stakeholders will come together to consider key issues related to the return of stolen wealth stashed in the US, the UK, Australia, Germany and Canada. The inaugural Washington DC GFAR summit will be focusing on the asset-tracing and asset recovery efforts of four focus countries: Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Ukraine.

‘We believe that this pre-GFAR meeting in Abuja will increase the level of cooperation between Nigeria and the international community and help send the right signal that a new beginning in the global fight against corruption has dawned. That Nigeria has been mentioned as part of countries to focus on in the December Summit in Washington, makes it important for stakeholders to work towards a global anti-corruption outcome.

Other issues which the Abuja meeting will focus on include an examination of the proposed Charter on Accountable Asset as a set of principles for Asset Return, a consideration of Initial findings and recommendations from CSO reports for the GFAR, and how CSOs working in the areas of asset recovery can prioritize and deepen discussions around asset recovery. 

ANEEJ urges the international community to use this pre-GFAR summit in Abuja to strengthen some of the MOUs made to Nigeria during the 2016 London Anti-corruption Summit. For instance, the UK committed to establish a public register of company beneficial ownership information for foreign companies who already own property in the UK. In the same vein, the US committed to rigorously identify, trace, and ultimately recover assets related to the proceeds of corruption and the returning of the proceeds recovered for the benefit of the people harmed by corruption. Such gestures from the international community to recover Nigeria stolen wealth stashed overseas ultimately puts Nigeria in a position to deliver on many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs ’, the Rev Ugolor said.

To engender the strong political commitment, multi-jurisdictional coordination, and practitioner interaction which the GFAR seeks to promote in Washington DC, the ANEEJ pre-GFAR strategy summit will convene three work streams. The first will be for Investigators, Forensic Auditors, and FIU Staff, Prosecutors, Investigating Judges and Lawyers in Central Authorities, and Policy Makers, Staff of Foreign Affairs and Technical Assistance Providers.

‘We are glad that diverse groups have expressed significant interest in this meeting and attracted a large body of auspicious participation to include strong representation from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the OGP Secretariat, Anti-corruption Agencies, CSOs from different parts of the country, journalists, Development Partners and diplomats including ambassadors from Switzerland, the UK and US’  Executive Director of  Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumini adds.

‘Since the Washington GFAR meeting is linked to anti-corruption events in Nigeria, a Nigerian pre-GFAR summit gives our government and its anti-corruption agencies, civil society organizations and other stakeholders including development partners an opportunity to interact and reach a common understanding on a number of issues ahead of the December 2017 meeting’ Adetokunbo Mumini said.