$17.8 bn illegally taken out of Nigeria in 9 years – Report

Over $7.8 trillion was siphoned from the world’s developing and emerging economies between 2004 and 2013, and over $17.8 billion (about N3.4 trillion) of that amount, was from Nigeria, a new report on global illicit financial flows has said.

Nigeria is among the world’s top 20 countries with the biggest losses from skewed financial transactions, the report noted.

South Africa leads the pack in Africa with $209.22 billion lost over the period. It occupies the seventh position on global ranking.

Globally, China leads with $1.39trillion, followed by Russia ($1.05trillion), Mexico ($528.44billion), India ($510.29billion), Malaysia ($418.54billion) and Brazil ($226.67billion), Thailand ($191.77billion) and Indonesia $180.71billion.

Others include Kazakhstan ($167.40billion), Turkey ($154.50billion), Venezuela ($123.94billion), Ukraine ($116.76billion), Costa Rica ($113.46bilion), Iraq ($105.01billion), Azerbaijan ($95.00billion), Vietnam ($92.94billion), Philippines ($90.25billion) and Poland ($90.02billion).

Illicit financial flows are transactions involving the transfer of the proceeds from the exploitation of the resources from a particular region to another, either through money laundering and other illegal means, or commercial activities, without the commensurate value in returns.

The report published on Wednesday by Global Financial Integrity, GFI, a Washington DC-based research and advisory group, said illicit financial flows from developing and emerging economies, which stood at just $465.3 billion in 2004, rose sharply to $1.1 trillion in 2013 alone.

Titled “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013″, the report, which described the phenomenal jump in scale, showed that illicit financial flows first exceeded the $1 trillion mark in 2011.

Authored by GFI’s chief economist, Dev Kar, in partnership with his junior counterpart, Joseph Spanjers, the report ranked Nigeria 10th among the world’s top 20 countries devastated by illicit financial flows.

The study involved the analysis of discrepancies in balance of payments data and direction of trade statistics (DOTS), as reported to the IMF to detect flows of capital illegally earned, transferred, and/or utilized.

Detailed findings from the report showed that illicit financial flows growth rate for the period averaged 8.6 percent in Asia and 7 percent in developing Europe as well as in the MENA and Asia-Pacific regions.

The report identified Sub-Saharan Africa as the only region still suffering the biggest blow from the negative impact from illicit financial outflows, with an average of 6.1 percent of its gross domestic product, GDP finding their way out to other regions without returning.

About 5.9 percent of the GDP of developing economies in Europe was equally affected, according to the report, while the impact on the developing countries’ GDP averaged a staggering four percent and 3.8 percent of the GDP of Asia.

The report also said about 3.6 percent of the entire value of the economic activities of countries in the Western Hemisphere was lost through illicit financial transactions, same as the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, which accounts for about 2.3 percent.

Other findings from the report showed that trade fraud accounted for $6.5 trillion of the illicit outflows, with China, Russia, Mexico, India, and Malaysia, as the biggest exporters of illicit capital over the period.

In seven of the10 years studied, the report showed that global illicit financial flows outpaced the total value of all foreign aid and foreign direct investment flowing into poor nations.

“This study clearly demonstrates that illicit financial flows are the most damaging economic problem faced by the world’s developing and emerging economies,” GFI President Raymond Baker, said.

The GFI president said the report confirmed the concerns at the 2015 United Nations Assembly that for Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved, it would require significant curtailing of the illicit flows to meet the mantra of ‘trillions not billions’ needed to fund the campaign.

This was in line with the objective of Goal 16.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls on countries to significantly reduce illicit financial flows by 2030.

Although the report observed that the international community was yet to agree on the goal indicators, it said however that the technical measurements have been identified to provide baselines and track progress made on underlying targets and, subsequently, the overall SDGs.

These indicators, the report explained, would not be finalized until March 2016. But, it called on the International Monetary Fund, IMF, to conduct the annual assessment.

The report urged world leaders to focus on promoting openness in the global financial system, particularly by establishing public registries of verified beneficial ownership information on all legal entities, while all banks should know the true identities of owner(s) accounts opened with them.

“Government authorities should adopt and fully implement all of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) anti-money laundering recommendations; laws already in place should be strongly enforced,” the report recommended.

Besides, it asked policymakers to demand multinational companies to publicly disclose their revenues, profits, losses, sales, taxes paid, subsidiaries, and staff levels on a country-by-country basis.

In addition, it said all countries should actively participate in the worldwide movement towards the automatic exchange of tax information as endorsed by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, and the G20.

Other policy recommendations included the need for Customs agencies to treat trade transactions involving a tax haven with the highest level of scrutiny, while governments should significantly boost their customs enforcement by equipping and training officers to better detect intentional misinvoicing of trade transactions, particularly through access to real-time world market pricing information at a detailed commodity level.

It also emphasized the need for governments to sign on to the Addis Ababa Tax Initiative to further support efforts to curb illicit financial flows as a key component of the development agenda.


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  • Rommel

    And how much left between 2013 and May 29th 2015,I’m sure it will quadruple that amount three times over as no evidence exists today to point to what happened to the money raked in from the highest oil boom in the history of crude oil sells,2011 to October 2014 when crude oil price maintained above $100 bpd and Nigeria was pumping more than 2.3 million bpd with close to 200k stolen daily.

    • Julius

      Bro, the CIA and the FBI already gave BUhari some documents about who stole the money and where its stashed . All will be coming out soon. I cant wait to hear from Mrs NNPC. Dasuki is a baby compare to that woman.

  • Burning spear

    Below are his explanation on the reasons why he granted Chief Raymond Dokpesi bail.

    1. He granted Chief Dokpesi Bail but with conditions.
    Two sureties in the sum of N200m each.
    One must be a serving or retired civil servant (director level).

    2. He put the EFCC on notice that he was already looking at some errors in their case and warned them in advance.
    For instance he wondered how they intend to prove that Dokpesi laundered govt money when he was charged alone…since he is not a govt employee.
    He also wondered how they could have asked him to deny Dokpesi bail because “the issue was one of national security which related to the diversion of money meant for arms, which led to the deaths of soldiers” when in the 6 count charge NOTHING of the such was mentioned.

    3. He asked the lawyers to file an application for the media houses who have been leaking confidential documents about the case and promised to make an example out of a few to deter others.

    4. He was unequivocal when he mandated that on no grounds should the EFCC re-arrest Dokpesi on any other matter while on bail. That he knows their (EFCC) rascality and he is putting them on notice that if they need Dokpesi, they should invite him by writing through his lawyers and give 48hrs notice. Dokpesi can only be questioned between the hours of 10am and 6pm and that should not be abused. If they want to question him outside these hours they should write to the court specially.

    Finally, he was crystal clear about how keen the courts are to fight corruption, but stressed that it would not make any sense to attempt to do so through corrupt processes. —–

  • favourtalk

    All of th will surely suffer. Nigeria is bigger than anybody who steals our money, we need them to account for the money they stole from our pulse. They milked the nation dry by the conjunction of GEJ and okonjo iweala.

    • Daniel

      How many years was Jonathan President? The period includes Yar dua and Obasanjo. It is important we are objective, rather than allow our adrenalin move in just one direction. The ill-wind blowing will certainly expose all those who claim to be Buhari’s friends.

      I foresee the implosion the APC because some of their members cannot escape these revelations. I would advise Buhari to to start rebuilding the CPC for 2019, if he wishes to contest again.

      I am keeping my fingers crossed.

  • MushinSpeaks

    Can someone please remind me…GEJ was Nigeria’s President for how many years? The year of locust will never ever return.