The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday said banks and other financial institutions holding illicit funds should be made “to face the consequences of engaging in criminal conduct.
Osinbajo said this in an address at ‘Conference on Promoting International Co-operation in Combating Illicit Financial Flows and Enhancing Asset Recovery to Foster Sustainable Development,’ in Abuja.
Osinbajo said the transfer of illicit funds could not happen without a “handshake’’ between the countries where the funds are transferred from and financial institutions and countries to which the assets are transferred.
“There is no way it will happen without some form of connivance between international banking institutions and those who transfer these funds.
“So, we must work at somehow delegitimising those kinds of transactions and criminalising them.
“If that isn’t done, we are not likely to get very far,’’ he said.
He urged the international community to be involved in a lot of bi-lateral agreements and conventions that would ensure that financial institutions were not given a free run.
Earlier in his keynote address, the Chairman, Anti-Corruption Conference Council, Mr. Akere Muna, said transparency was key in tracking illicit funds.
A former Vice Chair of Transparency International, Muna said it was morally wrong for banks and financial institutions to keep stolen and frozen funds.
He called for the creation of escrow accounts to warehouse stolen funds for easy access to the owner-countries.
“We need to have a system where the money moves from the handler to a third party; this makes recovery easier,’’ Muna said.