A new report has linked 10 former Nigerian governors to properties worth £56 million (about N30 billion) in the United Kingdom.
The report on illicit financial flow (IFF) from Nigeria to the UK and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also shows that 216 properties are owned by 13 law enforcement officers in the UAE.
The report was presented at a media roundtable organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation.
The identities of the former governors were not disclosed.
Dr. Gbenga Oduntan of the Kent Law School, University of Kent, UK presented the report titled, “Fixing Nigeria’s Illicit Financial Flows: A critical review of UK and UAE Policies, Laws and Practices.”
Commenting on the report, Chairman of HEDA, Olanrewaju Suraju, said funds stolen from Nigeria and taken to the UK and UAE were mind-boggling.
He noted that both countries have become enablers of illicit funds and stressed the need to challenge external collaborators aiding the flow of illicit funds out of Nigeria.
“We should make it difficult for people to take out the proceeds of crimes,” he said, adding that the UK and UAE should protect their systems from “those toxic resources.”
The HEDA Chairman noted that while over $50 billion is lost annually to illicit financial flow in Africa, Nigeria is the leading country in terms of IFF.
Stakeholders have however advocated for the creation of a tripartite anti-corruption task force for the three countries to stop the illicit financial flow.
Oduntan, who presented the research report, said apart from the huge amount of money illegally stashed abroad by politically exposed persons in Nigeria, $15 billion alone is lost to tax evasion by multinationals in Nigeria.
In addition, he said there is heavy under-invoicing between Nigeria and the UK, adding that fixing Nigeria’s illicit financial flow would require the destination countries to collaborate with Nigeria to shut down their systems against suspected proceeds of crimes.
However, he lamented that this is not the case, saying in the UAE, findings show that prosecution of money laundering cases is very low.