EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede

EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede

The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,  Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede, has disclosed that $88.6billion is lost to illicit financial flows in Africa annually.

He stated this in Tunis, Tunisia on Thursday,  June 27, 2024 while delivering a keynote address at the Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) and Taxation.

Speaking on the theme “Africa’s Tax Agenda in Combatting Illicit Financial Flows: From Words to Action,”, the EFCC’s boss emphasized the grave challenge posed by Illicit Financial Flows to Africa’s economic stability and development. He noted that over $88.6 billion is illicitly siphoned from the continent annually, funds that could otherwise be channelled towards critical infrastructure, healthcare, and education.

At the conference that brought together key stakeholders to discuss pioneering approaches to asset recovery and financial reintegration in Africa, Olukoyede discussed the role of the Common African Position on Asset Recovery (CAPAR) in providing a unified stance for African nations. He also underscored the importance of international cooperation, citing the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), a partnership between the World Bank and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as pivotal in facilitating these efforts.

The EFCC’s boss shared notable success stories, including Nigeria’s repatriation of $311 million of the Abacha loot from the United States in 2020. This recovery,  he said, was achieved through collaboration with international partners and has been allocated to vital infrastructure projects such as the Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. He detailed how Nigeria is utilizing these funds for developmental projects aligned with the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Olukoyede also incorporated outcomes from the recent high-level technical stakeholders meeting which held in Addis Ababa from May 28-30, 2024. This meeting, organized by the African Union Advisory Board against Corruption (AUABC) and the African Union Commission – Political Affairs, Peace and Security Department (AUC-PAPS), in collaboration with the GIZ Global Program on Illicit Financial Flows (GP-IFF), focused on the establishment of the Pan-African Asset Recovery Practitioners Forum.

Addressing the challenges and obstacles in asset recovery, Olukoyede highlighted the technical, legal, and political hurdles that complicate the process of tracing, freezing, and repatriating illicit funds. He called for the strengthening of legal and institutional frameworks across African countries to better combat IFFs.

He also stressed the need for capacity building, robust legal frameworks, and enhanced coordination and cooperation at national, regional, and international levels. He advocated for the use of advanced technologies such as data analytics, blockchain, and artificial intelligence to improve asset tracking and recovery efforts.

While rounding up his presentation,  anti-graft czar called for continuous advocacy and international pressure to ensure cooperation from tax havens and low-tax jurisdictions. He emphasized the importance of stopping resources from leaving Africa in the first place, urging collective efforts to turn words into action for the betterment of the continent.

The Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation, is holding from June 26-28, 2024, and aims to address the significant challenge of Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa, which undermine economic development and governance. The event provides a platform for sharing success stories, identifying obstacles, and formulating strategic recommendations to enhance the continent’s capacity to combat IFFs and reclaim its assets.

BEWARE All Rights Reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without prior express written permission from Juliana Francis

Caring is Sharing ... Think It's Cool? Please Share to Any Icon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *