Africa’s anti-graft and law enforcement agencies should return stolen monies and recovered assets back to their original owners, the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has said.
The Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, spoke at the Global South Forum for Asset Recovery, in Nairobi Kenya.
Rafsanjani who is also the head of Transparency International Nigeria, said the practice by governments across the continent to marginalise the original victims of stolen assets from whom the assets were stolen in the first place when recovered was not good.
He cited the examples of the cases between the Nigerian government and Delta State and the mismanaged COVID-19 funds in Kenya were good examples.
”The practise, if not properly checked, the assets risk being re-looted by officials who do not mean well for their country. It is important for citizens of states to benefit from assets stolen away from them by corrupt rulers.
“I charge African countries to come up with legal frameworks for the management of recovered assets,” he said.
Rafsanjani said the move would encourage countries outside Africa where the assets were located to send such assets back to their original owners.
He also charged law enforcement and anti-graft agencies in Nigeria to adhere strictly to the recently passed Proceeds of Crime Recovery and Management Act, 2022 on issues of seizures, confiscation and management of recovered assets.
Rafsanjani said while the new law did not solve the issue of proper coordination, the provision for anti-graft agencies to operate a database of recovered information where citizens can know the status of seized assets was commendable.
He lauded President Mohammadu Buhari and the National Assembly for the legislation which according to him was long overdue, adding that recovered assets shouldn’t be used for bogus projects, rather on projects that would benefit the citizens.
The CISLAC boss also called for more cooperation between state and non-state actors in asset tracing, repatriation and disposal.
The forum in attendance representatives of civil society organisations in Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, U.S, France, Germany, and the African Union Secretariat. (NAN)