“The thing that we must take note of is that corruption fights back. And it is fighting back and it has the resources to do so.”
This was the submission of the Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo when he spoke at the 20th anniversary regional webinar, organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday, July 14.
Professor Osinbajo, who warned that many people will be discouraged to stand against corruption in the coming days due to its multifaceted nature and difficulty in combating the scourge, stressed that the fight against corruption would become more difficult.Osinbajo spoke on: “Combating corruption and illicit financial flows: New measures and strategies.”
The Vice President said: “the fight against corruption is nuanced and hydra-headed. It is not going to get easier by the day; as a matter of fact, it will get more difficult by the day and many will become discouraged in standing up against corruption.
“But it is our duty both as individuals and institutions, especially in developing countries where corruption has such a devastating effect, to ensure that we prioritise the fight against corruption and continually devise new ways and new approaches even as the hydra-headed problem itself continues to manifest in different ways.”
Osinbajo said that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has so far been charting a new course forward for the fight against corruption in the country.
“Over the years, massive public resources and assets have been directly stolen, diverted, deliberately misapplied to gratify corrupt tendencies, stashed in foreign jurisdictions or mired in and susceptible to pilferage by the inequitable and unjust international economic system that continues to undermine the social and economic development aspirations of poor countries, especially from Africa.
“Without effectively combating corruption and IFFs and promoting international cooperation for asset recovery and asset return, Africa cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 16 of the SDGs is devoted to corruption.”
Although anonymous companies are not always illegal, nevertheless secrecy provides a convenient cover for criminality and corruption.
“Our experience in Nigeria, as in other developing countries, is that anonymous corporate ownership covers a multitude of sins, including conflict of interests, corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, and even terrorism financing.
“We must make corruption expensive for those who engage in it and send the unequivocal message that corruption simply does not pay.
“It is the unenviable but noble task of the ICPC and other anti-corruption agencies to make corruption unattractive to its disciples and facilitate new approaches to stemming IFFS and promoting asset recovery and return.”
Professor Osinbajo said that there is need for holistic measures to completely stamp out corruption from the polity.
“We must protect, even more, whistle-blowers – persons who come forward with information against corruption.
“We must protect those who are ready to fight against corruption and who are prepared to do so without necessarily disclosing their identities and even those who are ready to disclose their identities”