Religious leaders, traditional rulers frustrate action against corrupt individuals — Osinbajo

Emma Uca, Head of the Bureau of Abuja

Vice President, Professor Emi Osinbaggio, said that whenever he wants to dismiss a public official who has been deemed corrupt, he receives many appeals from religious and political leaders not to.

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Speaking at the 24th plenary meeting of the Nigeria Economic Summit on Corruption and the Rule of Law, Osinbajo said in Abuja on Monday that the Nigerian elite was often on the path to getting rid of corrupt government officials.

Neuer Woods, founder of the Blavatnik School of Government Department at Oxford University, who moderated the plenary session, asked Osinbajo to say that the summit calls him when he wants to dismiss someone from corrupt.

In his reply, Osinbaggio said: “I would like to refer to the Nigerian elite, and probably not fair to be so broad, but in almost every segment, because the people who have access to you can be political leaders, religious leaders, business leaders , those who have access to you.

“We have a system in which people just feel:“ Why don't you just give this guy a break? This is again part of the problem. You do not receive one call, you receive several calls. ”

Osinbaggio said the government is doing so much to fight big corruption and systemic corruption. He said that since he became vice president, he had seen how corruption could affect a country, adding that it was more than he had ever imagined.

Meanwhile, the vice-president at the same event took up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the OECD, and countries for not doing enough to speed up the return of the plundered funds.

He accused the countries receiving corruption to simplify the process of returning such funds to their countries of origin.

His words: “It is clear that systems in many of these countries are simply not in a hurry to return money.

“Of course, people will say that in these countries there is a judicial system.

“It is also clear that in the same system, when money related to terrorism or drugs was discovered, they were very quickly confiscated.

“In fact, in the 90s, when money for drugs was everywhere, we signed all manner of mutual legal assistance treaties, conventions of any kind and immediately after September 9, the financing of terrorism, and all this was under scrutiny,

"In essence, this, in my opinion, is only due to the fact that the financing of terrorism has become the focus of attention, and that the proceeds from corruption have also become the focus of attention."

Continuing, he said: “No one was prepared in the mid-1990s, especially in OECD countries, none of them at that time were prepared to view the proceeds of corruption as dirty money, which should be confiscated and returned the country where they came from .

“There was a lot of reluctance. And so we need to go through the legal system, go through the courts, involve the government and all that. No one is in a hurry to return the plundered funds.

“Recipient countries must see stolen funds for who they are. First of all, it is a crime. As soon as you can prove to the prima facie that these are stolen funds, they should be repatriated to the countries where they were stolen.

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“There should not be a complicated process. I often think that we have arguments that are clearly not needed in this process. ”

The Vice President also criticized the banking regulatory institutions of countries where the proceeds of corruption were received for not doing anything against such banks.

“The second is to keep banks in the account. Many of the banks are regulated by various institutions in their countries. But many of these institutions do not say a word about banks that receive stolen funds or income from corruption. I think that there should be sanctions against such banks by the institutions that regulate them, ”he insisted.

Osinbajo said that the paradox of economic growth and increasing poverty at the same time, which has been a nation’s history for a long time, is explained by what he called “great corruption”, in which political leaders simply appropriated public funds for themselves,

According to him, the current administration of such impunity and continue to fight corruption, no matter how difficult.

He added that population growth rates above economic growth rates are also one of the main factors that have increased the level and number of people below the poverty line in the country.

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