British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was caught on camera yesterday telling Queen Elizabeth that leaders of some “fantastically corrupt” countries, including Nigeria and Afghanistan, were due to attend his anti-corruption summit.
Cameron will host an international anti-corruption summit on Thursday aimed at stepping up global action to combat corruption in all walks of life.
In a pooled video feed made available to the ITN broadcaster, Cameron was shown talking with the queen about the summit.
“We had a very successful cabinet meeting this morning, talking about our anti-corruption summit,” Cameron said when the queen approached. “We have got the Nigerians – actually we have got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain.”
“Nigeria and Afghanistan – possibly two of the most corrupt countries in the world.”
The queen did not respond to Cameron’s comment, but the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said: “But this particular president is actually not corrupt.”
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari and Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, both of whom are due to attend the summit, acknowledged corruption in their countries and have pledged to clean it up, Reuters reported.
The Nigerian government has however described the statement credited to the UK Prime Minister as “embarrassing.”
In a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Garba Shehu yesterday, shortly after the news of the Prime Minister’s comment went viral on the Internet, the Presidency said: “This is embarrassing to us, to say the least, given the good work that the President is doing. The eyes of the world are on what is happening here.”
The statement, however, welcomed the remarks by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who said President Buhari was not corrupt.
Meanwhile, responding to Cameron’s comments, the Managing Director of Transparency International, Cobus de Swardt said: “There is no doubt that historically, Nigeria and Afghanistan have had very high levels of corruption, and that continues to this day.
“But the leaders of those countries have sent strong signals that they want things to change, and the London Anti-Corruption Summit creates an opportunity for all the countries present to sign up to a new era.