Barely 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari told Process and Industrial Development (P&ID), the Irish engineering firm that recently won a $9.6 billion judgement against Nigeria, that it will not succeed in scamming the country of that money, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has described the firm as fraudulent and should not be negotiated with.
This is coming even as a British court Thursday said Nigeria can appeal against the enforcement of the judgement granting Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) the fiat to size the country’s assets worth $9.6 billion.
Magu said this at this at the High-Level National Side-Event “Promotion of International Cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on asset recovery and return to foster sustainable development”, organised by the African Union Development Agency and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the margins of the 74th United Nations General Assembly.
According to Magu, “The source of illicit financial flow (IFF) is hydra-headed with dirty tentacles such as illegal mining, kidnapping, terrorism, militancy, smuggling, crude oil theft and other forms of organized crimes, attendant effect of non-sustainable development in the country.
In fact the recent one is international conspiracy to defraud Nigeria of over $9.6 billion which is about one third of about budget and that constitutes about one fourth of our national reserve by people who are completely fraudulent. Complete. There is no legality whatsoever, so we should not even negotiate with them.”
Speaking on the danger of illicit financial on countries development, the EFCC boss said it has caused instability in various countries of the world, stressing that any effort to develop any country or for any country to be respected, it must deal with illicit financial flows.
Magu also called on member states to ensure stolen assets are returned without conditions.
He said: “I want to restate a few things; one, in the task to develop continents, countries, regions, few things are amiss. But the major one is that illicit financial flows are fundamental drag on peace, development and security.
It’s been long known that illicit financial flows have caused instability in various countries of the world, therefore any effort to develop any country or for any country to be respected, it must deal with illicit financial flows.
“In particular, illicit financial flows are more injurious to countries that are small or have resources that are exploited and the benefits of that exploitation are not seen in those countries.
“Everyone knows that what is given as aid to affected countries is not up to a quarter of what is stolen as illicit financial flows. Therefore the fight for legislation to halt illicit financial flows is a very serious one, the danger of blocking confirmed stolen assets to be returned to affected countries is a serious one. The first victim is the rule law. The UN takes the rule of law extremely serious so therefore all efforts to ensure stolen assets are returned without conditions must be well followed.”
The EFCC boss noted that the connection between corruption, crime and wanton destruction of natural resources is well known.
According to him, “We all know that in most countries laws are not enacted because of corruption to protect very very rich private corporations that have no desire for peace, security and development of countries.
The ills this cause are mostly felt in countries that are weak but this corruption affects all countries because other criminal activities are also springing up in countries where such funds are taken.
“Let me therefore state that at the level of the General Assembly resolutions taken to strengthen illicit financial flows should be tightened, member states should be encouraged to see that they lend their voices in this direction.
“Nigeria led this with the support of Norway, Sweden and other countries. The implication is that this is no longer an issue for Africa, many countries have seen the necessity to lean their voices to what is right.
“Let me reassure that the EFCC is committed to work alongside other organizations that seek to bring justice and development through the return of illicitly stolen assets.