President Muhammadu Buhari has called on world leaders to take strong actions against people who steal assets, as he urged for more commitment from governments and international institutions.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Paris Peace Forum at the Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris, on Sunday, the Nigerian leader warned that continuous impunity will encourage the habit.
Buhari said Nigeria had strengthened its laws and institutions to fight corruption and fast-track recovery of stolen assets as well as punish offenders.
According to a statement issued by his media aide Femi Adesina, Buhari delivered his statement on “Illicit Financial Flows (Iffs) and Corruption: The Challenge of Global Governance’’.
About 70 world leaders, including Russian Vladmir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, attended the gathering.
“We must crack down on safe havens for corrupt assets. I also advocate sanctions by professional bodies against transactional middlemen (lawyers, bankers, brokers, public officials, etc.) who facilitate Illicit Financial Flows,” he said.
“I would like to reiterate that the Government of Nigeria remains open and is ever willing to continue to identify and share experiences and strategies to give life to the ideas that will lead to winning the fight against corruption.’’
He also said: “Our experience in Nigeria is that financial crimes, such as corruption and fraudulent activities, generate enormous unlawful profits which often prove so lucrative that the threat of a jail term is not sufficient to deter perpetrators.
“A more powerful deterrent is to ensure that profits and assets generated from illicit financial flows and corruption are recovered and returned to countries of origin.
“This is not to under-estimate the value of strong institutions. It only indicates that asset recovery represents significant deterrence compared to the traditional focus on obtaining conviction by the law enforcement agencies of the countries of origin.’’