Malami Seeks Return Of More Looted Assets

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has urged the international community to aid repatriation of funds and other assets looted from Nigeria and hidden in foreign territories.

Malami advocated the elimination of existing restrictive provisions that currently hinder smooth and prompt return of such looted assets being held in foreign countries.

The media aide to the AGF, Dr. Umar Gwandu, said Malami spoke while delivering, by virtual means, Nigeria’s country statement at the 14th United Nations Crime Congress, which held in Kyoto between March 7 and 12, 2021.

The AGF, Gwnadu added, noted the Federal Government is working assiduously to narrow the gap between confiscated assets abroad and the actual assets returned to the country.

Malami called for international cooperation in facilitating mutual legal assistance for tracing, freezing, seizing, confiscating and return to Nigeria proceeds of corruption stashed abroad.

The AGF stressed that there was the need for the international community to demonstrate political will in removing all barriers and obstacles to the full implementation of the provisions of United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) particularly Article 51 on Asset Recovery and Return, including cases that make use of settlements or other non-trial resolutions.

Malami said: “Our major objective should be to narrow the gap between confiscated assets and actual assets returned to their legitimate owners.”

He added that Nigeria was hopeful the adoption of the Political Declaration on crime prevention and criminal justice will spur more action and greater efforts in crime prevention and criminal justice.

While maintaining Nigeria’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda, Malami pointed out Nigeria continues take measures to fulfill her obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) by improving domestic conditions through comprehensive Strategic Action Plan.

Malami added: “Nigeria condemns cybercrimes and terrorism in all manifestations and calls on states to strengthen cooperation at all levels to combat the threat posed by terrorism through enhancement of timely information sharing, logistical support and capacity-building activities to affected states, including combating the linkage between terrorism and corruption, illicit financial flows, cybercrime and trafficking in drugs.”

He said Nigeria is developing laws and policies to prevent crime and ensure justice for victims, offenders and society.

“Nigeria is simultaneously addressing the socio-economic challenges at the root of crimes. It is, therefore, pertinent to underscore the importance of more international community investment in stakeholders’ capacity building in order to improve crime prevention and criminal justice efforts,” he said.

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