The British of State of Immigration, Mr. Robert Goodwill has reaffirmed the country commitment to recovering and returning stolen assets in its territory to Nigeria.
Robert speaking at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Government of Nigeria said the MoU will provide mechanism by which monies could be returned.
Robert said the returning of funds to Nigeria will send a clear message to all who may seek to harbour stolen assets overseas that there is ‘no safe haven’ in the United Kingdom.
“Our ability to recover and return stolen assets should send a clear message to all who may seek to habour such assets that there is no safe haven in the UK,” he said.
“We are keen to do this [return stolen assets] 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.”
Mr Goodwill announced that 40 jurisdictions including British Overseas Territories would share beneficial ownership information relating to companies, trusts and foundations in order to expose owners of stolen assets.
The signing of the MoU is a follow-up to the agreement reached at the London anti-corruption summit in May.
Goodwill, who is also a member of the British parliament, said the UK is as committed as Nigeria in ensuring that beneficial ownership of assets is made available to relevant authorities so they know the identity of the real owners of assets held in the UK.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria assured Nigerians that returned assets would not be misappropriated again.
“That both countries recognised that they have a mutual interest in ensuring that returned assets are not at risk of being misappropriated again,” he said.
“And that both countries recognised they have obligations toward their own citizens for providing such assurances.
“That both countries recognised the importance of ensuring that the highest possible standard of transparency and accountability are applied for the return of assets.”