Looted Funds: FG changes recovery tactic

 

The federal government is adopting a new approach to its recovery of stolen funds stashed in foreign countries, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting Wednesday in Abuja, the minister said government negotiates directly with the Ministry or Department of Justice or other judicial agencies in those countries instead of hiring expensive lawyers.

He said part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York was to seek the cooperation of world leaders for the repatriation of the country’s looted funds.

He said the countries where the government has been working assiduously to repatriate stolen funds include the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Liechtenstein, among others.

The minister also dismissed remarks in some quarters that the President’s speech at the UN meeting did not address local issues in the country which require the support of international community.

“I think its misguided. First and foremost, he was speaking to the international audience on a global stage and the UN is there for global issues, so I think its absolutely in order because Nigeria is part of a global community addressing global issues. But he addressed all those issues covering also all the things that affect Nigeria as a country. When Mr President came in, he outlined three priorities security, governance anti-corruption and the economy.

“On security, he addressed the security issues, he talked about the Boko Haram and the importance of the international community being engaged in that fight and also taking measures to stop ISIS infiltrating into the sub region, he talked about the humanitarian crisis and thanked the international community for what they have done so far in helping us in that context and also the importance of keeping an eye on that crisis.

“On anti-corruption which is a priority for us he called on the international community to insist and maintain good governance and he himself talked about good governance being a priority for this country and wanted the international community to key into it because we are looking to these countries to help us get the stolen funds back.

“On the economy, he is saying a lot of the conflicts in this world today are as a result of the nature of relationships between countries.  You have those that have and those who do not have and we have to start looking for a more equitable society, economic equity, again this is part of what the sustainable development goals has as an objective,” he said.

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