Africa Group Rallies Global Action Against Illicit Financial Flows

The African Group at the United Nations has rallied a global action against Illicit Financial Flows, calling on foreign jurisdictions where stolen assets from Africa are domiciled to confiscate them and return them to the countries of origin.

The African Group at the United Nations is made up of 54 African Union member-states at the United Nations. The bloc holds regular meetings from guests and UN officials and discusses UN resolutions and topics to reach a common African position.

The Leader of the African Group, Ambassador Chola Milambo, who is also Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, expressed the group’s regrets over the growth of illicit financial flows and its damaging effect on the continent.

Addressing the Tenth Conference of States Parties to the UNCAC at the Georgia World Congress Centre in Atlanta, United States, Milambo condemned the IFFs from Africa and called for a global action to halt it.

He said, “The African Group regrets the growth of illicit financial flows in the continent. Asset recovery is the fundamental principle of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the African Group therefore enjoins member-countries to confiscate and return stolen assets from Africa to the countries of origin.

“The African Group fully welcomes and endorses the recommendations of the United Nations High Level Panel otherwise known as the FACTI Panel on asset recovery towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

In addition, the African Group leader frowned at the high level of corruption and bribery aided by foreign conglomerates/multinational corporations and also called for global action to contain the debaucheries.

“The African Group underscores that the fight against corruption is a shared responsibility of all countries, and therefore a certain threshold must be agreed,” Milambo added.

Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon. Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, had during plenary session of 10th Conference of States Parties to the UNCAC raised concerns over the undermining efforts of multinational corporations, particularly towards delaying assets recovery by the country and enhancement of domestic resource mobilisation.

He said, “We note with great concerns the threats posed by corruption, money laundering and illicit financial flows (IFFs) to the country. Nigeria has suffered greatly from the damaging effect of corruption, money laundering and IFFs which has resulted in the loss of colossal amounts of money running into billions by the country.

“We are however taking some bold steps and measures to combat the vices including the opening of a beneficial ownership register. Asset recovery is the kernel of our anti-corruption fight. Let me reiterate Nigeria’s unwavering commitment to the fight against corruption, money laundering and IFFs.”

Ghana, at the plenary session, expressed support for the African Union’s Common African Position on Asset Recovery (CAPAR) which the West African country admitted is an important tool for the return of African assets.

The CAPAR is a policy advocacy instrument aimed at assisting AU Member States to trace, identify, repatriate and subsequently effectively manage their assets, including items of cultural heritage, in a manner that respects their sovereignty and for the benefit of African peoples who are ultimately victims of illicit financial flows.

The policy instrument now stands as the best tool for Africa’s legal and technical framework in structuring the managing of the return of Africa’s stolen assets from the foreign jurisdictions in which they may be held into the rightful source countries.