Nigeria to collaborate with global agencies to fight money laundry

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With current estimated loss by Africa through illicit financial flows put at over $80 billion annually, Nigeria on Thursday agreed to collaborate with some global anti-graft groups to combat the menace in the continent.

Minister of Finance, Kemi, Adeosun, who said Nigeria accounted for a significant percentage of the loss, identified some groups the country agreed a high-level collaboration to include Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank Group.

On February 1, 2015, the high level panel on illicit financial flows from Africa chaired by former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, launched its final report at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In the report, the panel said “Africa lost in excess of $50bn annually between 2000 and 2008”, with the level of illicit financial outflows from the continent in excess of the official development assistance to the continent of about $46.1billion in 2012.

Since then, current estimates put the figure at about $80 billion, with the bulk coming from Nigeria.

Addressing the Platform for Collaboration on Tax, PCT conference at the United Nations in New York, Mrs. Adeosun identified IFFs as a problem that urgently required global focus and actions if significant developmental progress was to be realized in Nigeria and other developing countries.

“The IFFs are driven by the desire to hide illicit wealth, hide the proceeds away from the public eye and law enforcement agencies and conceal the ways and means illicit wealth was created, it makes it difficult to trace the associated money flow,” Mrs. Adeosun said.

“Developing countries, including Nigeria, collect significantly lower levels of tax, as a percentage of gross domestic product, GDP, than wealthier States. This is partly because the income and wealth being created, is taken out of the country illegally, without being taxed,” she added.

The Minister said the Nigerian government had engaged an international Asset Tracing and Investigation Agency (Kroll), to trace and track illicit flows and assets, apart from signing the Multilateral Competent Authority on Common Reporting Standards, to allow for exchange of financial account information.

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