Friday, 23 September 2016

Report lists US, Germany, France as custodians of stolen money from Nigeria


A report by London-based Public Service International Research Unit (PSIRU) has listed United States, Spain and France as countries that keep illicit funds from Nigeria.

The group, which investigated the impact of privatisation and liberalisation on public services, also named Japan and Germany as the other nations where money stolen from Nigeria is kept.

Also, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its civil society allies are planning to stage a protest in Switzerland for the repatriation of stolen funds kept in the country’s banks.

Disclosing its plan to stage a protest in Switzerland yesterday at a workshop in Abuja organised by Public Service International (PSI) on tax justice in Africa, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the congress would also stage similar protests in countries that are believed to be harbouring illicit funds from politically-exposed persons from Nigeria.

Unveiling the details, the PSI Director of Policy and Governance, Daniel Bertossa, said reports indicated that between 1980 and 2009, about $1.4 trillion was lost by Africa from illicit financial flows.

Bertossa, who also quoted from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) report, added that Nigeria also lost over $3 billion annually to tax incentives and import waivers.

He said while the country loses $2.9 billion to corporate tax incentives, it also loses $327 million annually to import duty exemption.

“Shell is estimated to collect about $149 million in tax incentives. Total, another oil company receives about $43 million in incentives. And if we look at who are the beneficiaries of these incentives, it is the very rich companies.”

Wabba said there is justification for recipient countries to negotiate terms for the release of illicit funds.

The NLC boss said: “Beyond the case in Africa, I think we must also have a way to go and protest at the receiver countries. When I hear that, Switzerland where illicit financial flow from Nigeria has been taken to, is not willing to release the funds, it shocks me. We must go there and protest till they release our money.”

He condemned tax exemptions granted to multinationals and those he described as rich and powerful Nigerians.

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