By Bankole Wright
cting President Yemi Osinbajo has called for the prosecution of international banking institutions aiding the laundering of stolen funds from the country.
Osinbajo said the transfer of illicit funds abroad cannot have been possible with treasury looters having a partnership with banks.
Osinbajo spoke in Abuja on Monday 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’.
He said, “There is no way the transfer of these assets can happen without a handshake between the countries that they are transferred and the international banking institutions in the countries in which they are transferred; there is no way it will happen without some form of connivance.
“We have to look at somehow delegitimising those kinds of financial institutions and criminalising them, so that banks and financial institutions that actually engage in this are called out and made to face the consequences of engaging in criminal practices. If that isn’t done, we are not likely to go very far.”
The Acting President also debunked allegations that anti-graft agencies were involving in media trial.
He said treasury looters who were fighting the government’s anti-corruption war tagged it as media trial in order to legitimise their acts of corruption.
He said there was no where in the world the discovery of millions of cash in an air-conditioned room won’t make headlines.
He stated, “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 no where 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.”