Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has refuted allegations of engaging in media trial often levelled against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other law enforcement agencies.
Osinbajo on Monday said the allegations of media trial were being sponsored by treasury looters in their bid to wage a counter-war against the fight against graft in the country.
He also called for the prosecution of international banking institutions found culpable in the transfer of ill-gotten funds from Nigeria to foreign nations.
Osinbajo spoke in Abuja during the opening session of a three-day conference on ‘Promoting International Co-operation in Combating Illicit Financial Flows and Enhancing Asset Recovery to Foster Sustainable Development’.
The event, which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, was co-organised by the Prof. Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking as the special guest of honour during the opening session, the acting President noted that there is an ongoing media war between treasury looters and those fighting corruption.
He explained that treasury looters were fighting back by tagging the ongoing anti-corruption war as media trial in order to legitimise their acts of corruption.
In faulting the allegation of media trial, Osinbajo said there was nowhere in the world where huge sums of money would be discovered in an air-conditioned room without the event making headlines.
If you look at the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria, there is a major fight back in the media.
There is a media war between people fighting corruption and those behind the stolen funds. It is called media trial. I don’t know what that means.
If you discover for instance large sums of money in an air-conditioned room, there is nowhere it will not make news anywhere in the world.
So, this whole idea of trying to legitimise corruption is definitely being fuelled and sponsored by those who have these resources, who have stolen funds.
Unless we see it as a problem that can bring down our system, then we will never be able to fight. I hope we will be able to advance this with other African countries.
In Nigeria for instance, where corruption fights back so eloquently, that government itself, if not careful, can be overwhelmed.”
He also called for the prosecution of international banking institutions which had made the transfer of illicit funds abroad possible.
Citing the report by the Thabo Mbeki Panel, Osinbajo said most of the illicit funds leaving Africa were from Nigeria.
He urged law enforcement agencies to do more to stop such illicit flows.
The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Prof Itse Sagay, regretted that most of the financial assets stolen from Nigeria were usually transferred abroad and, in effect, deprived the nation of the capacity to realise sustainable development goals.
He noted that the annual flow of proceeds of criminal activities globally was estimated at between $1tn and $1.6tn with half of the amount coming from developing countries.topics from