By Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Center (CISLAC) has tasked governments, anti-corruption agencies and law enforcement agencies across the African continent to ensure that the first victims of stolen assets are returned to stolen assets from their states once recovered.
CISLAC Executive Director, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, who also heads Transparency International Nigeria, speaking at the Global South Forum for Asset Recovery, in Nairobi, Kenya, denounced the practice of marginalizing the first victims of stolen assets (whose assets were stolen in the first place) when recovered by governments across the continent.
He cited the dispute between the Nigerian government and Delta State as well as the mismanaged COVID-19 funds in Kenya as two examples, saying that if the assets are not carefully monitored, they could be plundered again by authorities who have bad intentions for their nation. He said it is crucial for the citizens of the state to benefit from the assets that the corrupt rulers have stolen from them.
Furthermore, he urged African nations to develop legal frameworks for the management of seized assets, saying this would persuade non-African nations where the assets are located to return them to Africa.
Furthermore, Rafsanjani urged Nigerian law enforcement and anti-corruption organizations to fully comply with the recently passed Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act 2022 with respect to seizure, confiscation and management. assets.
He said that while the new law does not address the issue of proper coordination, the provision allowing anti-corruption agencies to operate a database of recovered information where citizens can find out the status of seized assets is commendable.
CISLAC however commended President Buhari and the National Assembly for the bill which it said was long overdue.
He also noted that recovered assets should not be used for bogus projects, but rather for projects that will benefit citizens.
Rafsanjani also called for more cooperation between state and non-state actors in the tracing, repatriation and disposal of assets.
The forum included representatives of civil society organizations from Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, UK, USA, France, Germany, representatives of the African Union Secretariat, GIZ, among others.