Acting chairman of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, said looters of the country’s treasury now keep illicit funds in Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon, South Africa, Niger Republic, Morocco and other African countries.
Magu made the disclosure at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between EFCC and its Nigerien counterpart, the High Authority Against Corruption and Relating Crimes( HALCIA), in Niamey, Niger.
Magic noted that looters, whose preferred destinatiiions for looted treasury was the United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Seychelles, are aware of the ongoing fight against corruption and choose neighbouring African countries.
In his words : “This has led to sharp increase in the number of Nigerians buying properties in African countries.”
“From available intelligence and our investigations, it has been revealed that looters from Nigeria now go to Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon, South Africa, Equatorial Guinea, Niger Republic, Morocco, Seychelles and so on, to stash their loots,” Magu said.
He explained that corrupt Nigerians, out of their desperation to keep looted funds, now go to the extent of changing their names and acquiring African countries’ international passports to cover up their corrupt practices.
Magu called on the international community to intensify efforts towards strengthening its structures to curb proceeds of corruption.
He also called on the international community to ensure the return of stolen funds and assets to their countries of origin.
Magu disclosed that his visit to Niger was part of the tour – aimed at mobilising international efforts to deny looters safe haven locally and internationally.
“Interestingly, the efforts of the Nigerian Government to trace, recover and return assets stolen from Nigeria coupled with our increased advocacy to discourage safe havens have begun to yield results.” He added.
“It is my conviction that our collaborative efforts will go a long way in eliminating safe havens. In fact, this is in tandem with renewed global commitment by countries to shut their doors to stolen funds,” Magu said.