Nigeria loses over $140bn to illegal cash flows –Oteh

The Director General, Securities and Ex­change Commission (SEC), Ms. Arunma Oteh has disclosed that Nigeria had lost over $140 billion to illicit financial flows within a 9-year period even as it is estimated to need about $50 billion investment to ensure stable electricity.

According to Oteh the fund are not lost only by embezzled public funds but a lot of it was lost through the illicit commer­cial activities of multinational companies.

She said the development has bring Nigeria to have a situation where the illicit out­flows are not only depriving it of desperately needed capi­tal but are also being used to finance terrorism abroad and within its shores.

The SEC DG said a security expert who trained her staff at the Commission recently shared some pieces of intel­ligence indicating that Boko Haram received over $70 mil­lion between 2006 and 2011 through shady activities like money laundering, oil bunker­ing, kidnapping and dealing in drugs.

She explained that this year, the G-20 is focusing on com­bating illicit financial flows especially considering the fact that poor countries are losing over $ 1 trillion every year to such illegal activities as money laundering, tax evasion, trans­fer pricing and embezzlement.

“This is money desperately needed for the millennium development goals and could prevent as much as 3.6 million deaths annually in the world’s poorest countries. Nigeria has lost more to illicit financial flows than any other African country between 2002 and 2011, even being listed in the top10 globally”, Oteh said.

She noted that considering the impact of corruption and anti-money laundering viola­tions in the country, efforts have been made to strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) re­gime in Nigeria leading to the delisting of Nigeria from the FATF grey list in 2013.

However, the SEC boss said more needs to be done adding that other countries are also implementing reforms to make it harder for wrongdoers to find a hiding place.

“The United Kingdom has the Anti-Bribery Act 2010 that requires companies with any link to the UK to have robust structures to forestall shady dealings. The United States has long had the Foreign Cor­rupt Practices Act of 1977 which provides for up to $25 million in fines and 20-year jail time”, She said.

Continuing, Oteh stated that regulators around the world are showing that improper acts will not go unpunished. “Fol­lowing the many malpractices that occurred in the years lead­ing to the global financial cri­sis, financial services regula­tors have diligently prosecuted many of the cases, forcing banks to settle for fines some of which have been indeed substantial with the single largest one of $13 billion paid recently by J.P. Morgan for the irregularities it committed on residential mortgage-backed securities”.

Source : SunOnline

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