Friday, December 2, 2011

Nigeria leads African nations in money laundering crimes

By Agaju Madugba
Daily Champion

Nigeria is leading seven other West African countries with highest rate of money laundering.
A report by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) in 2010 put Nigeria on the top of seven countries of the region which lose an estimated sum of US$73 billion (about N11.6 trillion) annually through laundering of illicit money from the national economies of the affected countries.
"Nigeria is by far the dominant driver of illicit flows from the sub-Saharan region and Nigeria's influence is also behind illicit flows from the group of fuel exporters," pioneer Director of the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crimes (UNAFR), Prof Femi Odekunle, said yesterday.
Odenkule spoke in Zaria at GIABA's annual public lecture on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism, at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU).
A breakdown of the figure shows that the countries lose US$43 billion and US$20 billion via tax evasion and corruption respectively and US$2 billion and US$612 million via drug trafficking and private sector fraud respectively while another sum off US$280 million is lost through human trafficking and related crimes.
He said: "The direct impact of money laundering is that it deprives the local economies of urgently-needed funds for development and it drains hard currency reserves, heightens inflation, reduces tax collection, cancels investment and undermines free trade."
He said efforts to reduce poverty and boost economic growth will continue to be thwarted as long as illicit capital continues to flow out of poor African countries.
In his address, GIABA Director-General, Dr. Abdullahi Shehu, said the annual lectures on money laundering and terrorism financing at tertiary institutions across the region were designed to ensure that a large segment of the population is sensitized on the effects of money laundering and terrorism financing.
He said: "The establishment of GIABA is one of the main responses and contributions of ECOWAS in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in the sub-region.
"Over the past several years, political upheavals due to resource control or simple greed have left many parts of the region in total chaos, with resources for reconstruction inadequate or unavailable.
"Within the framework of its 2011-2014 Strategic Plans, GIABA accords the promotion of strategic partnerships with stakeholders, including the civil society organizations, the media and development partners".

Michael Hearns an Anti Money Laundering specialist with over 24 years of AML experience can also be found at and on twitter at :!/LaunderingMoney   

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