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UK to reveal Nigerian property owners

UK to reveal Nigerian property owners
April 04
08:17 2017
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The British government will release information about Nigerians who own property in that country next year.

Bolaji Owosanoye, executive secretary, presidential advisory committee against corruption, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that negotiations on this had reached advanced stage.

Owosanoye said the measure being taken by the governments of both countries was a step up the fight against corruption.

“There’s no doubt that rogues in government oppress and impoverish their people by corruption and this must be sanctioned by collective action.

“We need to make sure that there is no safe haven for corrupt officials to run to. Britain has promised that by 2018, she will provide Nigeria with the information about who owns what and where; that’s very helpful.

“These include all the houses that have been bought by public officials or accounts that are held by public officials on which they are right now not paying taxes or which they cannot explain the sources.

“So if you cannot buy a house in England, you have to look for somewhere else. But if all countries criminalise this, then it becomes much more difficult unless you want to buy the house on Mars,” he said.

The presidential aide also explained that Nigeria and other African countries, who are victims of illicit financial flows, must challenge developed countries to block illicit financial flows from developing countries.

“Receiving states – the countries of the North – need to be proactive to block the proceeds of crime even before a request is made by victim countries.

“This is because, in many situations, it is clear that illegality is taking place.

“We think that reversing the burden of proof to improve the confiscation of criminal proceeds of crime would help, especially when we are going after the asset and not necessarily the person.

“If the person who claims to own the asset would not cooperate in giving information, then this should be a point in favour of the state,” Owosanoye said.

He contended that the burden of proof for criminal proceeds should shift to the suspects and not the government, citing the case of a former managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

“A former Managing Director of the NNPC was found with nine million dollars cash and over 70 million naira in his house in a small place he has built.

“He said the money is a gift. He was asked if he could tell the very generous angels who gave him this money.

“He’s not been able to provide that information. That sort of disposition should be used to penalise a claimant of asset who cannot justify the origin of the asset.

“The proposed “Unexplained Wealth Order in England,” which hopefully we were told would pass through the legal process this year, should really help to deepen the conversation in this regard.

“It (Unexplained Wealth Order) would help to quickly recover assets,” the presidential aide said.

Owosanoye said available research records showed that about 60 per cent of capital flight from Africa came from Nigeria because of the size of its economy.

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2 Comments

  1. Desmond
    Desmond April 04, 12:15

    It will only make sense if they include in their release the mode by which the payments for the properties were made and who made the payments.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Socrates
    Socrates April 04, 13:35

    It would have been better this information wasn’t published at all. It doesn’t make any sense and meaning anymore. All will move to tighten their loose ends and clear their messes before 2018. Is as good as telling a thief or a prime suspect that, hey, look I’m coming after you be careful that you don’t get caught!

    This is no more confidential, the good motives behind this step before long have been defeated and abrogated before it begun, it is clear and certain that even the white people we’re trusting on this matter would be compromised at the interest of innocent Nigerians who have been impoverished by their con leaders. What need has this again after revealing a top confidential “whodunnit” and sensitive secret as this to the media and the entire public? Was the “Panama Document” that saw even David Cameron one time British PM out of office been publicized before it was borne to the world? Its purposes has been defeated and compromised, innocent Nigerians shouldn’t expect much from this report it’d not worth its price and weight of high level of anxieties, I bet you.

    Reply to this comment

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