British government moves to reveal Nigerian property owners

The British government will release information about Nigerians who own property in that country next year.

Bolaji Owosanoye, executive secretary, presidential advisory committee against corruption, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that negotiations on this had reached advanced stage.

Owosanoye said the measure being taken by the governments of both countries was a step up the fight against corruption.

“There’s no doubt that rogues in government oppress and impoverish their people by corruption and this must be sanctioned by collective action.

“We need to make sure that there is no safe haven for corrupt officials to run to. Britain has promised that by 2018, she will provide Nigeria with the information about who owns what and where; that’s very helpful.

“These include all the houses that have been bought by public officials or accounts that are held by public officials on which they are right now not paying taxes or which they cannot explain the sources.

“So if you cannot buy a house in England, you have to look for somewhere else. But if all countries criminalise this, then it becomes much more difficult unless you want to buy the house on Mars,” he said.

The presidential aide also explained that Nigeria and other African countries, who are victims of illicit financial flows, must challenge developed countries to block illicit financial flows from developing countries.

“Receiving states – the countries of the North – need to be proactive to block the proceeds of crime even before a request is made by victim countries.

“This is because, in many situations, it is clear that illegality is taking place.

“We think that reversing the burden of proof to improve the confiscation of criminal proceeds of crime would help, especially when we are going after the asset and not necessarily the person.

“If the person who claims to own the asset would not cooperate in giving information, then this should be a point in favour of the state,” Owosanoye said.

He contended that the burden of proof for criminal proceeds should shift to the suspects and not the government, citing the case of a former managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“A former Managing Director of the NNPC was found with nine million dollars cash and over 70 million naira in his house in a small place he has built.

“He said the money is a gift. He was asked if he could tell the very generous angels who gave him this money.

“He’s not been able to provide that information. That sort of disposition should be used to penalise a claimant of asset who cannot justify the origin of the asset.

“The proposed “Unexplained Wealth Order in England,” which hopefully we were told would pass through the legal process this year, should really help to deepen the conversation in this regard.

“It (Unexplained Wealth Order) would help to quickly recover assets,” the presidential aide said.

Owosanoye said available research records showed that about 60 per cent of capital flight from Africa came from Nigeria because of the size of its economy.


Source: The Cable

British Govt Will Return Stolen Fund To Nigeria – Envoy

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Awkright has pledged the readiness of his home Government to repatriate stolen fund stashed in British Bank to Nigeria.



Briefing newsmen in Kano Wednesday, the envoy said that ‘what is of utmost concern to British government is how the repatriated funds will be utilized’, adding that ‘it is the hope of British government that the funds will be used on the execution of development projects. ‘



The envoy disclosed that British government is mulling the idea of hosting an international summits on corruption which president Buhari will be invited, as he added that the summit is poised to deliberate on disturbing spate of corruption in the corridor of power.



The High commissioner noted that for corruption to be rooted out in Nigeria, there was a compelling need for institutional change in all spheres of human endeavour, as he further expressed optimism that with President Muhammad Buhari in the saddle of power, Nigeria is on the right track.



Mr. Paul Awkright said “British is committed to helping Nigeria increase its security, stability and prosperity”.



“We would continue to provide capacity building, technical and investigative support to Nigeria to tackle corruption”.



He said “we are working with President Buhari to ensure the success of the fight against corruption and British will continue to support the administration to ensure free corrupt society in Nigeria”.



Commenting on insurgency, the British High Commissioner reaffirmed that the British government will redouble its support to train the Nigerian military to fight insurgency.



Awkright further revealed that the British government is also willing to support children in the northern eastern part of the country to pursue a qualitative academic career in the face of insurgency that had abysmally devastated the region affirming that the DFID programs were geared towards that direction.



Credit : Vanguard

Security Beefed Up Around Diezani After Cancer Surgery

Security has been beefed up around former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke. This follows a successful cancer surgery conducted in a London hospital on October 22, 2015.

Doctors had advised Diezani, under probe by the UK government, to avoid disturbances to recover well. A family source told Sunday Telegraph, was now in hiding and has increased security.
Her decision was not unconnected with the intense media scrutiny that followed her arrest last month along with four others.

“The focus on Diezani and hysteria has completely shifted everything in one direction,” the source

“Her family’s interest is for her to get well. The family is particularly worried about her health and seriously praying that she gets well.
“She is yearning to give an account of her stewardship once she is well enough. Nigerians should pray for her to get well so that we can put all this behind us.”

It is unclear if the security around Diezani is being handled by a private firm or UK Police.

The Westminster Magistrate’s Court on Marylebone Road, London had early last month granted an application for the seizure of £27,000 seized from the former minister under Section 295 of Proceeds of Crime Act 2012.

By granting the application, which was filed by the UK’s National Crime Agency, the money would be held in the custody of the court until April 5, 2016.

British Government Confident Of Buhari’s Administration

The British government has said that it is confident that the anti-corruption war being driven by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration will reignite investment confidence and allow investors to venture in other sectors outside oil and gas.

The British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Ray Kyles said that a level-playing field is needed to actualise the gains of economic diversification.

The British envoy also said that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is ready to engage in policy dialogue that will strengthen trade relations of both countries through the opportunities that abound in other sectors of the nation’s economy.

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