President Muhammadu Buhari has called on all African leaders, civil society organizations, anti-corruption agencies across the continent, to keep the flame of anti-corruption burning in getting rid of illicit financial flows and other threats to development on the African continent.
He made the remarks in Abuja while declaring open the Sixth African Union Day of Anti-Corruption. The event, themed: “Strategies and Mechanisms for the Transparent Management of Covid 19 Funds”, was organized by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU.
According to the President, corruption is evil and all efforts at tackling it are desirable. “I have monitored the fight against corruption in Africa and I can see both successes and setbacks, the battle must continue for the sake of the continent and its people no matter the difficulties.”
The president stated that in Nigeria, the fight against corruption has been rigorous since 2015 and charged civil and public servants to be ethical and professional at all times, while urging the private sector to show more commitment in curbing corrupt practices.
“The international community needs to close safe havens. The judiciary requires more impetus. Perhaps an international anti-corruption court is needed. Family and religious values have to be upgraded, and schools have a lot of work to do to catch them young and imbibe ethics”, he said.
The President also called for behavioral change in Africa towards tackling corruption, to ensure that national resources serve the African population rather than a tiny few.
“We must empower and allow our anti-corruption agencies to deliver on their mandate”, he said.
Executive Chairman of EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa who was represented by the Secretary to the Commission, George Ekpungu, decried the setback which Illicit Financial Flows, IFF, has caused African countries and anti-corruption agencies in their fight to restore integrity in public administration. “IFF remains one of the daunting challenges faced by anti-corruption agencies in their fight to restore integrity in public administration.
The EFCC in collaboration with FBI, NCA and other agencies, nationally and internationally, realized that the massive flow of illicit money from Nigeria is facilitated by global shadow financial systems comprising tax haven, secrecy jurisdiction, disguise corporation, anonymous trust account, fake foundations, trade mispricing, multinational assets freezing, money laundering techniques and sundry criminal activities and we intend to deploy the facilities and opportunities provided by the new Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022 through the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering, SCUML to checkmate the activities of money launderers.