ICPC boss calls for global action against illicit financial flows

The chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has rallied a global action against Illicit Financial Flows (IFF), including a call for a global framework on IFFs similar to corruption.

A statement by ICPC spokesperson Mrs. Azuka Ogugua on Sunday, said Prof. Owasanoye made this call at a side event of the ongoing hybrid 54th Conference of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) taking place in Dakar, Senegal.

The meeting was attended by representatives of member-countries of the Economic Community for Africa, heads of anti-corruption agencies and international bodies, is focused on regional efforts to track, recover and return stolen assets from Africa through the IFFs.

Addressing the meeting virtually, the ICPC boss emphasised the need for a global framework on IFFs as part of a determined commitment to tackle the menace.

“The challenge we found ourselves today is that the rules have always been skewed in favour of those who export capital and against those who import capital. Corruption is a global issue and we have a global framework on corruption.

“The IFF is also a global issue but does not have a global framework. A way out of the problem is to institute a global framework on IFF which, among others, will address the huge financial losses suffered by African countries,” the ICPC chairman stated.

He noted that the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia – Ukraine war have complicated the financial resources of African countries, hence the need to tackle the IFFs and stop further hemorrhage of the financial resources of African countries.
Prof. Owasanoye also proffered legal and policy measures that should be implemented by African countries to address the IFFs risk.

These legal and policy measures according to him include, review of agreements entered into with Multinational Corporations (MNCs), review of inimical double taxation agreements, enactment of laws, rules or regulations on unexplained wealth order or lifestyle audit (following the recent Nigerian legislative example), introduction of civil forfeiture of assets and beneficial ownership standards and design of a framework for trans-digital transactions.

The ICPC chairman also advocated tougher measures against corrupt State Officials who collude with the MNCs against their countries.

“African countries must understand that the MNCs split contracts. The juicy parts of the contracts with MNCs are domiciled in their home countries while the non-juicy parts of the contracts are domiciled in Africa.

“We need to deal with the MNCs’ collaboration by government officials who look the other way in international agreements,” he said.

Earlier in her remarks at the side event, the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Rebecca Grynspan, said the global economy was under enormous stress due to Covid-19 pandemic, Russia – Ukraine war and climate change.