The party appears to be over for public officers in the habit of looting the nation’s treasury.
The Federal Government and 59 other nations will in May sign agreement on the sanctions to be imposed on corrupt political and public office holders.
President Muhammadu Buhari will join 59 other world leaders in the United Kingdom to seal the pact by which any of the 60 countries involved would no longer be a “safe haven” for treasury looters.
Some of the sanctions that may be imposed on culprits include:
- travel restriction or denial of entry visa into the 60 countries;
- rejection of request for political asylum by corrupt political and public office holders;
- likely loss of citizenship;
- no more approval of naturalization for any corrupt person;
- no establishment of shell companies abroad; and
- the corrupt will not be allowed to operate foreign accounts in any of the 60 nations.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami, SAN, who spoke exclusively with our correspondent, said the agreement will make it difficult for those stealing public funds in the country to escape abroad or operate slush accounts to stash cash away.
He said: “The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is stepping up the fight against corruption. I am happy to bring to your notice that Nigeria and 59 other countries will enter into an agreement in May on the imposition of international sanctions against corrupt political and public office holders. This will take place at the 2016 international summit on anti-corruption in the UK.
“At the May summit, these 60 countries will agree on some sanctions against those who steal public funds or launder money.
“Some of these measures are travel restriction or denial of entry into the 60 countries; rejection of request for political asylum by corrupt political and public officers; no more approval of application for naturalization by any corrupt person; and the corrupt will not be allowed to operate foreign accounts in any of the signatory nation to the pact among others.
“The affected countries will also design ways of sharing intelligence on corrupt officers and money launderers. We will all key into this understanding as part of the global action against corruption.
“With this development, there is no hiding place for any public office holder who steals funds in this country.”
Responding to a question, the AGF said: “The President will deliver a keynote address at the May summit. It all borders on the international appreciation of the anti-corruption agenda of this administration.
“In fact, Nigeria is being considered as the 2017 host of the international summit on anti-corruption.”
In the past few years, politically exposed persons in the country and their cronies have stashed looted funds in the UK, US, UAE, Switzerland, France, Seychelles and the Island of Jersey.
Some of the looted funds include $723 million (about N142.43 billion) repatriated from Switzerland in the last 10 years; $200b allegedly stashed in UAE; $480m to be released to the Federal Government by US; £22.5 million (N6.18 billion) recovered from Island of Jersey; and about £400b in Europe, Asia and America.
The Swiss government in March confirmed that it had so far returned $723 million (about N142.43 billion) of stolen funds seized from the family of the late former head of state, Sani Abacha, to the Nigerian government in the last 10 years.
The amount excluded the $321million (about N63.24 billion) which the Swiss authorities recently said it was planning to repatriate to Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debts, Senator Shehu Sani, said over $200 billion had been hidden in UAE.
He said: “Over $200 billion are stashed away in Dubai alone. This may represent the monies stolen since in the past 20 years.
“I am not talking about estates and bonds and other securities bought with Nigeria’s stolen money.”