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CSOs set up project to discourage use of looted funds for political campaigns

CSOs set up project to discourage use of looted funds for political campaigns
September 25
16:14 2021

Civil society organisations (CSOs), including the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), have set up a project aimed at tackling illicit financial flows during elections.

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The project, tagged, Strengthening Accountability Networks among Civil Society (SANCUS), will focus on improving accountability in public institutions.

The project is scheduled to run till December 2023, and will be implemented by Transparency International through its chapters in 21 countries, with support from the European Commission.

Speaking on Thursday at the launch of the project in Lagos, Musa Rafsanjani, executive director of CISLAC, said laws that are enacted to curb corruption, money laundering, and electoral malpractice are not adequately enforced in Nigeria.

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He said the SANCUS project will provide the framework for CSOs in the fight against illicit financial flows in Nigeria’s electoral process.

“Our laws are not enforced or are outrightly ignored. According to widely shared public opinion, political contests have little to do with ideas, but rather, corruption and populism take the upper hand,” he said.

“We all know the problem IFF causes, and as CSOs working around the themes of money laundering, there is a need to call out the wrongdoings of the government as well as commend the government when they are taking the right actions.

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“Doing this will greatly reduce IFF in Nigeria and you’ll agree with me that with the high rate of borrowing, it is important for us to block these leakages.

“All hands must be on deck to ensure that scenarios where looted funds are stashed either at home or abroad only to be used when it is time for political campaigns and elections is reduced to its barest minimum.

“On the positive side, the necessary institutional and legal infrastructure is in place. We have the Independent National Electoral Commission and laws in place that, in theory, should regulate how money enters politics.”

Delivering his remark virtually, Vaclav Prusa, CISLAC policy consultant, said government institutions tasked with the responsibility of curbing corruption must ensure that offenders have nowhere to hide.

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“It should be built in a way that there will be no secrecy of jurisdiction, no anonymous companies. Every company must be clearly identified and their owners known, just like the idea of hiding under cryptocurrency to perpetrate the act should not be allowed.”

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