President Buhari Seeks Help of Africans in Diaspora In Fight Against Corruption

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President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Africans in the Diaspora to help with ways to end the menace of corruption on the continent.

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement, said the President made the call on Wednesday in New York while addressing participants at the High Level Media Launch on “Illicit Financial Flows and the Fight against Corruption: Curbing the Existence of Safe Havens – the Role of Africans in the Fight against Corruption.”

In the event, organised by the NEPAD/APRM Nigeria on the margins of the ongoing 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Buhari described corruption as a “cancer” which he said required global efforts to contain it.

President Buhari also cited a 2015 study by an African Union Panel led by Thabo Mbeki which estimated $50bn illicit financial flows out of the continent every year.

“According to the report, about $2.5bn of the $50bn of Illicit Financial Flows was in respect of commercial activities.

“It is obvious that the continent still battles with grand corruption at the highest level, with Safe Havens, opaque systems in many recipient countries and the outright willingness of some advanced countries to harbour stolen funds from Africa,” he said.

Buhari highlighted some of the negative effects of illicit financial flows out of the continent to include draining of foreign exchange reserves, reduction of tax/revenue collection, poor investment inflows and escalation of poverty.

He said the “nefarious practices are being perpetrated by some of the 60 international tax havens and secret jurisdictions with thousands of disguised corporations, shell companies, anonymous trust accounts, fake charitable foundations, money laundering and transfer pricing mechanisms.”

He also revealed that efforts are being made to check the act.

He said, “One of the measures necessary, if we are to make any headway is to bring in laws, regulations and policies that encourage transparent financial transactions, as well as implementing measures that would mitigate the incentives that facilitate illegal outflows from the continent.”

The President also recalled that during the January 2018 AU Summit, he pledged to “organise African Youth Congresses against Corruption, in order to sensitise and engage our youth in the fight against corruption; mobilise African Union member states to implement African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption; and advocate for the strengthening of the criminal justice system across Africa through exchange of information and sharing best practices in the enforcement of anti-corruption laws.”

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