By Chimezie Godfrey
#TrackNigeria: The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and State of The Union (SOTU) have called on all anti-graft agencies to be proactive by following up on the suspicious transactions reports, which banks and financial providers flag as potential money laundering cases.
They also urged all African countries to adopt clear procurement governance frameworks that inculcate prudence and enhanced operational efficiency through accountability and transparency, in the use and application of their financial resources to drive the transformation process.
The group made this call Thursday in Abuja during the occasion, which marks the 3rd African Anti-Corruption Day with the theme “Towards a Common African Position on Asset Recovery.”
According to the Executive Director CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, ”The African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption was adopted in Maputo, Mozambique on 11 July 2003 and came into force in 2006.
“Till date, the Convention has been ratified by 40 member states of the African Union. Since adoption of the Convention, African states have made significant efforts in the fight against corruption including the establishment of national laws and the creation of anti-corruption agencies.
“Despite these efforts, corruption has remained pervasive in almost the whole of African countries.”
He said that the negative effect of corruption on the continent is clear for all to see and impacts negatively on the socio-economic capital of Africa.
Rafsanjani disclosed that public procurement is one area most vulnerable to corruption in most African countries.
He said that in addition to the volume of transactions and the financial interests at stake, corruption risks are exacerbated by the complexity of the process, the close interaction between public officials and businesses, and the multitude of stakeholders.
He also reiterated the need for asset declaration for elected officials, senior public servants and judges which should be in the public domain and open to the scrutiny of citizens.
“With the growing interest of Beneficial ownership disclosure across the Continent, CISLAC prevails upon the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards to demand an expansion of the frontiers of our collective struggle for transparency and accountability and the promotion of policies and standards that insulate our financial systems from acts of money laundering.
“Money-laundering crimes and tax evasion need to be stringently investigated and prosecuted by competent agencies and in line with FATF Standards.
“Frivolous and fraudulent tax wavers to multi-national and African companies, especially in high net revenue sectors such as oil and gas, communication and construction, needs to be stopped.
“CISLAC and SOTU calls on all national anti-graft agencies to be proactive by following up on the Suspicious Transactions Reports which banks and financial providers flag as potential money laundering cases,” Rafsanjani said.
They also urged all anti-corruption stakeholders in the fight against corruption in Africa to reflect on the challenges faced with asset recovery and chart an effective way forward.
The group further reiterated their commitment to monitoring the various AU treaties that African governments have signed onto to ensure effective implementation for the benefit of Nigerians and implored all national stakeholders to do same respectively.