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Curbing IFFs key to Africa’s growth — ICPC Chairman

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By Ogaga Ariemu

The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has declared that collective action is needed to stem the tide of corruption and Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) out of Africa, saying that it is a recipe for the continent’s survival.

This was contained in a statement disclosed to Nigerian NewsDirect on Wednesday by the Commission’s Spokesperson, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua.

The Chairman who was represented by ICPC board member, Hon. Olubukola Balogun, made the statement at the Commission’s headquarters while delivering a keynote address at a one-day seminar organised by the Abuja Chapter of Society of Women Accountants of Nigeria (SWAN) themed, “Building Institutional Resilience to Reduce Corruption and Illicit Financial Flows.”

Professor Owasanoye bemoaned the fact that African countries, including Nigeria, were particularly affected by huge losses through IFFs thereby depriving the continent of the much-needed resources for development.

He disclosed that the 2021 International Conference on IFFs had “estimated annual loss to IFFs from Africa at $50 billion and growing at the rate of 20.2 per annum and $86.6 billion representing 3.7 GDP, and noted there was need for the collective action to address Africa’s Illicit Financial Outflows to secure Africa’s survival; sustainable growth and development; and Agenda 2063.”

The ICPC Chairman stated that the tragedy of IFFs was that the loss was suffered by developing countries whereas the destination of the funds are the rich industrialised countries of the West and recently Asia and the Middle East.

The Commission’s boss noted that Nigeria is grappling with serious challenges in the areas of peace, security, good governance, and sustainable development and that there is the need for quick wins and long-term solutions to save the country.

He identified accounting professionals in both public and private sectors of our governance systems as core component of the “foot soldiers” of the battle due to their role in the custody and management of public/national resources as well as the potential of being in the best position to prevent and combat corruption and IFFs.

He emphasised the fact that accountants were crucial to exposing IFFs, stating that they know about the flow of finance and therefore it is impossible to steal without them knowing.

Professor Owasanoye further explained that the war against corruption and IFFs is not a fight by a few agencies alone and therefore commended the women professionals for undertaking the initiative to bring together experts and practitioners to discuss and proffer solutions on the theme.

Speaking on the role of revenue agencies in engendering citizens’ buy-in combating corruption and illicit flows, the Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammad Nami, who was represented by Alhaja Faozat Ogunniyi, underscored the measures the revenue agency was taking at tackling IFFs.

The FIRS boss also lent credence to the fact that corruption and IFFs have starved Nigeria of the much-needed resources required to provide basic amenities, infrastructure and improved living conditions for the citizenry.

He expressed the belief that the SWAN collaboration with ICPC and other regulatory agencies to reduce corruption would lead to improved tax compliance at both the national and sub-national levels.

In his goodwill message, the Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Mr. Ekpo Nta, the immediate past ICPC Chairman, who was represented by Chukwuma Nwachinemere, described accountants as key actors in the financial sector, pointing out that lending their technical expertise to block criminal infraction was required.

The former ICPC Chairman explained that the NSIWC is strongly committed to encouraging equitable wages policies, saying that corruption stemmed from greed and covetousness to acquire more than what is earned.

Speaking at the event as well, the Managing Director, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Professor Adesoji Adesugba, called for a robust and effective integrity system in public institutions, noting that it was one way of building resilience to corruption and illicit flows.

In his remark at the event, the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mallam Tijjani Musa Isa, who was represented by Alhaji Kabir Alkali Mohammed, said the professional institutions have significant responsibilities in reducing corruption, stating that as professional accountants, with the mandate to act in public interest, collaborating with relevant agencies to curb corruption should remain a top priority.

Also speaking during the seminar, the Director-General, National Centre for Women Development, Madam Asabe Bashir, reiterated the need to come together and proffer a long-term solution to the menace of corruption, saying that corruption had no gender, hence, it is everyone’s responsibility to stop it occurring.

The seminar later dovetailed into a technical session where experts shared notes on ways corruption and IFFs could be tackled head on.

Crime

UNN lecturer caught pants down inside office with student

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A lecturer of University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, has been caught pants down inside his office with a female student.

The man whose name is yet to be ascertained by newsmen is said to be a lecturer in the School of General Studies of the institution.

The victim is alleged to be someone’s wife.

A voice in the viral video said: “We have been following this case from day one. As you can see we have all the chats, voice notes, videos and everything.”

Commenting under the video, a student identified the man in the video, claiming he taught him Peace and Conflict, a course under General Studies, during his time in UNN.

He said: “That is my lecturer in UNN, he taught us Peace and Conflict under GS in my time. We called him or rather, he called himself “The Short Man.” He was very strict with us in class. It’s unfortunate that he was involved in this.”

Another source said: “When he wants to sleep with someone’s wife? Well, it was planned by her husband, UNN security with some students. Even when the lady offered him money he refused. Well, with this, if he still remains, he will never try that again”.

When contacted to speak on the matter, the Public Relations Officer of the institution said he was yet to see the video.

He said he would investigate to find out if it’s true.

Meanwhile, a lecturer, who sought to remain anonymous identified the location of where the incident happened as a GS building. He, however, said he couldn’t disclose the name of the man in the video.

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Crime

Justice served: Two defendants await sentence for motorcycle theft

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In a recent case brought before the Magistrates’ Court in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, the wheels of justice turned decisively as two individuals, John Simon and Yusuf Nikie, found themselves facing the weight of the law for their involvement in the theft of a motorcycle. Their guilty pleas echoed through the courtroom, leading Magistrate Michael Bawa to order their remand in a correctional facility pending further proceedings, with the final judgment slated for May 2.

Simon and Nikie stood accused by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, charged on two counts: conspiracy and theft. The narrative unfolded as Prosecutor Marcus Audu presented the facts to the court. According to Audu, the saga began when Tanko Umaru, the aggrieved party, filed a report at the corps’ office in Kafanchan on April 13, detailing the disturbing incident.

The prosecution outlined the sequence of events, alleging that the defendants brazenly entered Umaru’s residence in Bakin Kogi and absconded with his prized possession—an emblem of mobility and livelihood—a Bajaj motorcycle. Yet, their scheme was thwarted as the long arm of the law swiftly intervened. The diligent efforts of law enforcement culminated in the apprehension of Simon and Nikie during the investigative process, with the stolen motorcycle discovered in their possession, serving as damning evidence against them.

The gravity of their actions was underscored by the legal framework within which they operated. Audu emphasized that Simon and Nikie had transgressed against the provisions outlined in Sections 58 and 270 of the Kaduna State Penal Code Law, reflecting the severity of their offenses under the jurisdiction of the court.

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Lagos trader jailed 5 years for receiving N2.19m stolen property

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An Ikeja Magistrates’ Court on Monday sentenced a 22-year-old trader, Mohammed Abdulhamid, to five years imprisonment for receiving stolen property worth N2.19 million.

The convict who resides in Ayobo area, Lagos, had pleaded guilty to the two-count charge of conspiracy and receiving stolen property.

The Magistrate, Mrs O. O. Fagbohun, sentenced the convict to Kirikiri Correctional Centre without an option of fine.

Fagbohun noted that the sentence would serve as a deterrent to others.

Earlier, the Prosecutor, Insp. Felicia Okwori, told the court that the offences were committed between June  2023 at 56, Captain Davies Road, Ayobo, Lagos.

Okwori said the convict received stolen property from one Mohammed Awalu, security guard to the complainant, Mrs Omolola Idowu.

She disclosed that Awalu is currently serving his jail term on the same offences.

She added that the convict and others still at large stole the complainant’s property when she travelled.

The prosecutor listed the stolen property to include two gates valued at N540,000, window protectors worth N870,000 and a power generator worth N300,000.

She listed other stolen items as ceiling fan worth N25,000, gas cooker N375,000, and a pumping machine valued at N85,000, all totalling N2.19 million.

According to the prosecutor, the offences contravene Sections 328 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015

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