The Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, on Tuesday said the private sector was responsible for over 60 per cent illegal movement of funds from Africa to foreign countries.
Owasanoye made this known during the visit of council members of the African Bar Association (AFBA) led by its President, Mr. Hanniba Uwaifo, to the agency’s corporate headquarters in Abuja.
The ICPC boss was quoted in a statement to have said perpetrators of illicit financial flows (IFFs) channel such funds through commercial activities enabled by the private sector.
“A bulk of corruption going on in the country is caused or perpetuated by the private sector. About 60 per cent of funds taken or stolen away from Africa through illicit financial flows are being done by the private sector, basically through commercial transactions, seemingly harmless transactions that are put together by accountants, auditors and bankers,” he said.
The ICPC chairman who also commented on attacks on staff of the commission and other anti-corruption agencies by suspects under investigations, said it was fuelled by impunity and weak laws.
Noting that corruption was debilitating in the country, Owasanoye explained that the ICPC was focusing on public sector corruption because of its impact on the country and the private sector.
He listed some of the progress made by the commission to include: de-emphasising confession-based investigation, a world-class forensic lab, staff auditing, and capacity building.
He charged the AFBA to play a positive role in regulating lawyers’ effectiveness in the fight against corruption and pledged the commission’s commitment to support the up-coming anti-corruption conference of the AFBA scheduled to hold in Niamey, Republic of Niger.
Earlier in his remarks, AFBA’s President, Mr. Hanniba Uwaifo, traced the problem in Africa to corruption which, according to him, had led to the underdevelopment of the continent.
He stressed that the continent cannot grow unless corruption was uprooted, adding that the world was worried about the level of corruption in Africa.
Uwaifo lamented that public sector corruption by government officials had held the country back from achieving its great potentials.
He also highlighted some of the corrupt practices perpetuated by government officials to include election malpractices, banditry and influencing the employment of lackeys into anti-corruption agencies in order to aid their corrupt practices.
Speaking on improvement, Uwaifo noted that issues of preventing corruption from taking place in the anti-graft agencies can be enhanced through constant audits of staff and materials.
He commended the ICPC for its due diligence and rule of law in the prosecution of accused persons.
“I want to commend the ICPC for performing creditably and not engaging in media trial and abuse of the rights of accused persons. I hope the commission will continue to perform its duties as constitutionally required,” the AFBA president said.
Kingsley Nwezeh, Alex Enumah in Abuja