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Virgin Nigeria to Commence Operations in June

Posted by From Emmanuel Onwubiko, Bangkok, Thailand on 2005/04/18 | Views: 322 |

Virgin Nigeria to Commence Operations in June

IF the rest of the global community accedes to Nigeria's request, no nation will soon be safe to hide looted funds.

IF the rest of the global community accedes to Nigeria's request, no nation will soon be safe to hide looted funds.

At the 11th United Nations (UN) Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which opens today in Bangkok, Thailand, Nigeria's main demand is for laws that will discourage looting by public officers.

The delegation is headed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Akinlolu Charles Olujinmi (SAN). Nigeria wants the UN to enact tough sanctions on public office holders who stash state funds in private foreign bank accounts.

Nigeria, in a position paper to be presented today, specifically wants the forum to work out tough statutes to prevent office holders in developing countries from stashing public funds in foreign bank accounts in Europe and America.

In the paper, the country notes that there has been "considerable reluctance" by the countries holding the proceeds of corruption to release such funds. It continues: "Nigeria has experienced tremendous difficulties in getting the proceeds repatriated, even after Nigeria has won the cases at the conclusion of the judicial process. It is only recently that some of these countries have started repatriating some of these funds."

The paper also expresses concern about the means of retrieving the funds. It states: "Also, the very nature of the judicial processes in those countries are not assets recovery-friendly.

"Perhaps, there is the need for an international agreement to be reached that any public official who is forbidden by law of his country to open foreign account, should forfeit that funds in that accounts to his or her home country or government, unless he can show that he opened the account legally with the permission of his government, or as an international diplomatic civil servant or otherwise in a lawful foreign emoluments, and that the money represents his remuneration from his public employment".

The Nigerian government will showcase the achievements of its anti-graft watchdogs, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Allied Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as good examples of how the menace can be effectively tackled.

It will also, however, ask for technical assistance from the international community for the agencies including achieving police and judicial reforms in the country.

The substantive agenda of the conference will include a discussion on working out strategies for combating trans-national organised crimes. It will also discuss effective measures to combat trafficking in persons, international co-operation against terrorism and the links between terrorism and other criminal activities in the context of the work of the UN office on drugs and crimes.

According to a document obtained by {The Guardian, the 11th session of the congress is necessitated by the collective global danger posed by terrorism and other trans-national organised crimes such as trafficking in persons, drug peddling, money laundering and other sundry international crimes.

It states: "The serious threat posed by trans-national organised crimes to society and national economies was recognised as early as 1975 in the context of the fifth United Nations congress on prevention of crime and the treatment of offenders.

"Trans-national crimes pose a major challenge for legislators, prosecutors and law enforcement officials. Criminal groups across the world can communicate and co-ordinate their activities, shrinking distances, rendering state frontiers permeable and often using new methods that enable them to elude the efforts of law enforcement agencies to intercept and control them. At the same time, the enhanced flows of information and commodities have created new opportunities for organised criminal groups, which have been quick to exploit them and expand their activities."

The Nigerian delegation includes a representative of the British Council, which sponsored the Nigerian team to the event, Miss Oluyemisi Agboola; as well as Professors Yemi Akinseye-George and Adeyemi. Also on the team is a Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonaya Onovo; the chairman of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Alhaji Bello Lafiaji; and EFCC chairman, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu.

The others are the executive secretary of the anti-human trafficking agency, Mrs. Carol Ndaguba; the director of international law department of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. E.E. Ekwueme; and Senator Lawal Shuaibu.

Already, the Thai government has tightened security around the venue of the conference with over 8,000 soldiers and police officers.

In a recent edition of the UN-based {International Herald Tribune, Raymond Baker, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Policy, and guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, wrote that there are three sorts of cross border dirty money: Corrupt, criminal and commercial.

He said: "Corrupt dirty money flows from government officials who abuse their authorities and dip their hands in the till, then hide their stolen wealth offshore. This grabs the most headlines, but is actually the smallest part of the dirty-money problem, only about five per cent of the total. Criminal dirty money encompasses proceeds from drug-related running, human trafficking, racketeering, securities fraud and more."

Baker added: "Commercial dirty money is the most easily overlooked. Businesses try to hide revenue from their country's tax inspectors by say, directing buyers to deposit money in western bank accounts. Private studies have estimated such practices in developing countries at five per cent to seven per cent of their total trade, of more than $200 billion per year transferred illicitly abroad yearly."`

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.