The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British Government on the modalities for the return of Nigerian looted assets.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, on Tuesday, August 30, signed the MoU in Abuja on behalf of the Nigerian government.
The move followed the agreement reached at the London anti-corruption summit in May.
Malami said the agreement reflects the willingness of both countries to continue cooperation and mutual support, adding that both companies recognize that they have a mutual interest in ensuring that returned assets are not at risk of being misappropriated again.
“And that both countries recognized they have obligations toward their own citizens for providing such assurances. That both countries recognized the importance of ensuring that the highest possible standard of transparency and accountability are applied for the return of assets.” he said.
He assured the international community that all funds recovered will be judiciously utilized for projects that will benefit poor Nigerians.
Speaking on the agreement, leader of the UK delegation, British Minister of State for Immigration, Robert Goodwill, said that the MoU provides the mechanism by which monies could be returned.
“Our ability to recover and return stolen assets should send a clear message to all who may seek to habor such assets that there is no safe haven in the U.K, Goodwill said.
“We are keen to do this as soon as the necessary legal process allow. As outlined at the summit, we will be taking steps to accelerate the procedures for identification and confiscation of illegally acquired assets.
“Forty jurisdictions, including British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies announced that they will automatically share beneficial ownership information relating to companies, trusts, foundations, Shell companies and other relevant entities and legal arrangements. It is important that everyone can see how returned assets are used to benefit Nigerians. We have therefore agreed in this MoU to be fully transparent about this.”
He said that the UK is as committed as Nigeria in ensuring that beneficial ownership of assets is made available to relevant authorities so they know who the real owners of assets held in the UK are.