WHEREAS the National Seminar on Economic Crime held from the 5th – 7th September, 2011;
AND WHEREAS the Executive Committee of the National Seminar on Economic Crime held its 8th Seminar under the theme “National Development: the Challenges of Global Economic Crimes”;
GIVEN that we as participants recognize and envisage that the National Seminar amongst others, seeks to assess the impact of corruption, money laundering, cyber crime, terrorist financing and terrorism on national development, the use of international anti-corruption instruments in addressing bribery and corruption in the Nigerian business environment, as well as provide a platform for practitioners to network and share experience and best practices toward improved cooperation in the fight against economic and financial crimes;
RECOGNIZING further that we as participants in this National Seminar on Economic Crime having come from different spheres of human endeavor and having lived and endured the negative effects of corruption and other economic crime, have resolved to formulate a common response to arouse deep critical analysis, adopt global best practices and align with the transformation agenda of the Federal Government for the eradication of corruption, economic and financial crimes in Nigeria;
ACKNOWLEDGING that as participants from different facets of the Nigerian economic environment, being professionals and persons in business, we urge government, leaders of thought and the organized private sector to support the work and aspirations of the National Seminar on Economic Crime.
THEREFORE, we make the following observations:
- That the prolonged delay in the trial of corruption cases is creating doubt in the minds of the public as to the sincere commitment of the relevant stakeholders in the anti-corruption crusade.
- That the harmful effects of corruption and other economic and financial crimes on national development engenders poverty; unemployment; waste, inequitable distribution of income and the near collapse of our revered national ethics and cultural values,
- That corruption and money laundering distort the economy and result in capital flight which in turn fosters massive economic deprivation and insecurity currently being experienced in the country,
- That critical infrastructure must be developed and protected as a national asset to ensure that it does not fall prey to the vagaries of cyber crime syndicates across trans national borders,
- That Nigeria is yet to imbibe the current global trend in legislation as it relates to extra-territoriality of anti-corruption regimes which favors a more aggressive approach that targets the individuals within corporate entities, their accomplices wherever they are in the world as enunciated in the USA Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Anti-Bribery Act,
- That law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies in the country are not making adequate use of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit’s intelligence in investigating and prosecuting their cases,
- That there are disparate anti-corruption, anti-terrorism and economic crimes strategies being implemented amongst Law Enforcement Agencies which have resulted in disjointed administration of the anti-corruption as well as economic and financial crimes agenda in Nigeria,
- That the absence of a non conviction based asset forfeiture law in Nigeria is a major obstacle in the fight against economic crime,
- That the private sector is yet to adopt global best practices in corporate social responsibility,
- That the recent passage of the Freedom of Information Act is a watershed in the fight against corruption and other economic crime as it aims to advance transparency in government business,
- That the Comatose state of the Public Complaints Commission (Ombudsman) discourages the public from buying into the Anti Corruption Crusade.
The 8th National Seminar resolves:
i. That the Attorney General of the Federation should as a matter of urgency:
- Re-present the Bill for a Non-Conviction Based Asset Forfeiture law as an important complimentary instrument in the Anti-Corruption fight,
- Initiate process for the establishment of special courts for the expeditious disposal of corruption cases,
- Take necessary steps to domesticate global Anti-corruption legislations which make corruption a high risk venture like the models implemented by the UK and USA regarding anti-bribery and foreign corrupt practices respectively, and
- Finalize work on the National Strategy on Anti Corruption which will drive the Anti Corruption Campaign.
ii. That the National Assembly should urgently consider reviewing the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011:
- By reducing the reporting threshold for financial transactions to facilitate effective monitoring of funds movement, and
- By increasing the penalties for money laundering offences to make them commensurate with the crimes in order to serve as deterrence to potential offenders,
iii. That the National Assembly should expedite consideration and enactment of the Whistleblower Protection Law to guarantee the safety of whistleblowers and encourage effective reportage of incidences of corruption and other economic crime.
iv. That the private sector must begin to see their responsibilities under the Corporate Social Responsibility principle as a compulsory and necessary duty and not as charity.
v. That the government must correspondingly perform its constitutional duty of utilizing public funds in a prudent and efficient manner to provide goods and services in order to make life more meaningful for the citizenry,
vi. That a comprehensive cyber crime and critical infrastructure law in Nigeria should be enacted to provide for effective monitoring and investigation of cyber crime,
- That Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA’s) in Nigeria should leverage the vast financial intelligence domiciled within the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in the fight against economic and financial crimes and terrorism financing,
- That there is need for consolidation of strategies amongst LEA’s as it relates to anti-corruption, anti-terrorism and economic crimes with each agency having clear scope of implementation and measurable performance indicators,
ix. That all critical stakeholders in the Nigeria project should as a matter of urgency, publicize and collaborate to ensure the utilization of the Freedom of Information Act as a potent instrument for the advancement of the cause of the war against corruption and economic crime.
x. That there should be a centralized National Database of all GSM SIM card subscribers, fixed telephone lines, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) wireless lines and broad band modems domiciled with the National Identity Management Commission to facilitate efficient and effective law enforcement and reduce the incidents of advance fee fraud, kidnapping, terrorism and other threats to national security.
The participants applauded the Executive Committee of the National Seminar on Economic Crime, the EFCC and all the organizing institutions for organising the seminar.
Adopted this 7th Day of September 2011 Abuja, Nigeria
Signed: Executive Committee, National Seminar on Economic Crime