Bank of England

The United Kingdom receives not less than £90bn shady funds from Nigeria and other countries across the world every year, a team of foreign experts said in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Monday.

The experts said 87,000 illicit assets in UK are owned by anonymous companies in tax havens, while the values of secretly owned properties in the UK are between £56bn to £100bn.

Forty per cent of these properties are in the city of London, they affirmed.

The revelation was made by world acclaimed anti-corruption advocates, Christian Erikson and Lionel Faull, in a joint paper tagged Obtaining Property Information Overseas presented at the ongoing anti-corruption training organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda in collaboration with international groups.

The programme drew 70 civil society organisations, media, labour and representatives of anti-corruption institutions from across the Southern region of Nigeria.

In his remarks, Nick Hildyard, an anti-corruption investigator, said though the UK has one of the most effective anti-corruption laws, but that in reality the country does not appear to be fully prepared to stall the wave of corruption with her financial institutions providing the logistics for corrupt officials from Nigeria.

“The UK is a legally corrupt country,” Hildyard said, adding that if Western countries genuinely wish to fight corruption, they should stop the warehouse of stolen funds from Nigeria.

Faull said, “Getting your money back is easier said than done. It takes a long time.

“If you do not support corruption, there is no need doing banking with Nigeria.

“The fight against corruption will not succeed without a very active citizenry.

“It requires international solidarity, teaming up with civil society in order to work with international organisations and make authorities accountable.”

In his presentation, HEDA Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, said about 456 top Nigerian public officials holding strategic positions are yet to declare their assets in spite of the regulations put in place by the Code of Conduct Bureau.

In her presentation, Prof Ayo Atsenuwa of the University of Lagos said that though the Freedom of Information law had opened fresh opportunities for Nigerians to hold their leaders accountable, Nigeria, unlike many other countries and jurisdictions, lacks a policy, guideline or law on public access of court documents.

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