Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth, Africa on Friday, rounded off its 8th Regional Conference with the appointment of the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu as its new chairman.
Magu’s appointment followed the body’s resolve to strengthen cooperation and collaboration among member countries for the purpose of facilitating assets recovery and return.
This is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its 5-day conference held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
The conference, with a theme, “Partnering Towards Assets Recovery and Return” among other things, expressed concern “about the heavy losses that Africa suffers as a result of illegal transfers of proceeds of corruption and crime out of Africa” and stressed the need for synergy among member countries to combat illicit financial flows.
It called on “African countries to strengthen cooperation and partnership in the tracing, recovery and return of assets in accordance with Article 54 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and Article 16 of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption”.
While recognizing the importance of whistleblowing in the fight against corruption, asset recovery and return; the meeting urged African countries to enact strong whistleblowing legislation and provide protection to whistleblowers.
The meeting also appealed to judicial and prosecuting authorities to cooperate, support and fast track prosecution of corruption cases in their jurisdictions.
It encouraged Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa to explore innovative ways of delivering public education, awareness and sensitization messages to the general public about tracing and recovering of assets.
The conference appreciated “the invaluable support and warm hospitality” provided by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the EFCC, ICPC and the people of Nigeria, the honour of the presence of President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at the opening of the Conference.
While expressing appreciation to the Commonwealth Secretariat for co-sponsoring the Conference, it acknowledged the participation and commitment of the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Baroness Patricia Scotland;
former Heads of State, Generals Yakubu Gowon and Abdulsalami Abubakar; Thambo Mbeki, former President of South Africa and Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, at the Conference.
Nineteen countries including Nigeria participated in the conference.
The next Regional Conference of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa will be hosted in 2019 by Uganda in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat.