Reps move to curtail illicit financial flows from Nigeria
The House of Representatives is taking a significant step at reducing the country’s exposure to Illicit financial flows as well as save the economy from losing a minimum of N5 trillion yearly.
Yesterday, the House, via its Committee on Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) led by Mr. Nicholas Garba, held a public hearing on the planned establishment of a chartered institute of forensics and certified fraud examiners to tackle illicit financial flows.
Sponsor of the Bill, Mr. Yusuf Yakub, argued that when passed into law, it would tremendously help the nation to fight against corruption; trace, track and recover looted funds, assets and resources; build capacity, attract foreign direct investments and build/restore the confidence of investors in the Nigerian economy.
The Adamawa-born lawmaker also said thousands of jobs would be created across the 774 local government areas because of the wide applications of the legislation.
“The bill, when passed into law, will significantly help in combating illicit financial flows and will save the Nigerian economy a minimum of N5 trillion yearly.
“The Joint African Union Commission, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (AUC ECA) high-level panel report on illicit financial flows from Africa estimates that the continent is losing in excess of $50 billion a year to illicit flows and about $10billion (20 per cent) is from Nigeria alone.
“The report makes the startling claim that over the past 50 years, Africa has lost more than $1 trillion, equivalent to all the official development assistance received during the same period. Every dollar that leaves one country must end up in another.
“Very often, this means that illicit financial outflows from developing countries ultimately end up in banks in developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as in tax havens like Switzerland, British Virgin Islands, or Singapore,” the lawmaker said.
However, the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAN) kicked against the proposed legislation on the basis that the training to be provided by the institute is being offered by the accounting profession.
Vice-Chairman of ICAN, Mr. Innocent Okwuosa, said his outfit had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigeria Police Academy to enhance forensic investigation on corruption.
“This bill will create professional bodies that encroach into other professions. It is an anathema. The National Assembly should pause and ponder over the bill. But if it is bent on passing it, it should not criminalise those practicing forensic auditing,” Okwuosa said.
But the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Dr. Nurudeen Abdullahi, urged stakeholders to discountenance the stance of ICAN by supporting the passage of the bill.
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