Considering the high spate of corruption among African countries, the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) Sunday, called on African Governments to return recovered stolen assets to the original victims.
This call was contained in a statement signed by the Executive Director, CISLAC, Comrade Auwal Musa Rafsanjani.
By this statement, CISLAC pointed out that recovered assets have known owners who are the citizens.
It argued that the refusal of returning stolen assets by Governments, on the continent, marginalizes the original victims, and such practice is not acceptable.
Mr. Rafsanjani who also doubles as Head of Transparency International, TI, Nigeria, made CISLAC’s position known at the Global South Forum for Asset Recovery, in Nairobi Kenya, where he said the case between the Nigerian government and Delta State as well as the mismanaged COVID-19 funds in Kenya are good examples, adding that if not properly checked, the assets risk being re-looted by officials who don’t mean well for their countries.
The Director, TI, noted that it is important for citizens of states to benefit from assets stolen away from them by corrupt rulers.
In this vein, the CISLAC boss tasked African countries on establishing a legal framework in respect of managing recovered stolen assets for accountability and transparency sake.
In his view, it will encourage countries outside the Africa continent where looters starch monies belonging to the people, in order for them to believe in the fight against corruption and return loots to Africa.
Rafsanjani, therefore, called on law enforcement and anti-graft agencies in Nigeria to adhere strictly to the recently passed Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 on seizures, confiscation and management of recovered assets.
In this regard, he pointed out that the new law does not solve the issue of proper coordination, but commended the provision for anti-graft agencies to operate a database of recovered information, where citizens can know status of seized assets from anywhere and anytime.
He went further to laud President Muhammadu Buhari, and the National Assembly for the legislation, which was long overdue as far as transparency in the fight against corruption is concerned.
Then he asked government to always utilize recovered loots and assets for people- oriented projects for them to benefit, and added that it is very pertinent for more cooperation and collaboration between state and non-state actors in asset tracing,repatriation and disposal.
To a great extent, the Global South Forum for Asset Recovery had representatives from Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, in Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United State, France, Germany, including representatives from the African Union, AU, Secretariat, GIZ, and others.