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FBI Burst: FG to Repatriate Funds Stolen by Fraudsters, Says NFIU Boss

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The Federal Government has begun the process of repatriating funds allegedly stolen by Nigerian fraudsters from individuals and corporate organisations in the United States of America and other parts of Europe.

The Director General of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Tukur Modibbo dropped the hint in Abuja on Tuesday.

Modibbo said the exercise has begun with the repatriation of the monies stolen and transferred into the country by 80 Nigerian fraudsters recently busted by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The NFIU boss, who spoke at a workshop on Sub-Regional Conference on Illicit Financial Flow and Assets Recovery, further hinted that some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were being used for illicit financial transactions.

The two-day workshop was organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), in collaboration with other stakeholders.

According to him, findings by the NFIU had revealed that some of the illicit funds have been going into terrorism financing and other organised economic crimes.

“We are reversing the transactions of the monies of those Nigerians indicted for cybercrimes in the United States”, Modibbo said, even as he called on western countries to also return monies belonging to Nigeria but which were illegally taken to their countries.

Continuing, he said, “The same thing is happening in Malaysia. We are reversing such transactions. We need more collaboration to ensure that there is a clean system in our region and the world.

“Nigerians abroad have to be discipline because we know that most of them are hard working. You can’t run to another country and start attacking your brothers.

“So, we are working with the NIA, the Police, Immigration and other security agencies to ensure that we end such transactions.

These fraudsters should know that the world is no longer what it used to be on illicit financial transactions.

Stating the international dimensions of illicit financial flows and their links to terrorism, Modibbo linked the Boko Haram insurgency and killings in many parts of the country to foreign terrorism influences.

Said he, “What is happening in the North East is not a Nigerian problem alone but an international issue. The killings happening even in Zamfara are also not only a Nigerian issue and they kept happening because of the illicit financial inflow people used to fund terrorism and banditry.

“So, what is happening in the North East and the Northwestern state of Zamfara is an international crime. As a result of illicit financial inflow, foreigners come to the country and kill Nigerians.

“It’s not that Nigerians are killing one another; foreigners are involved and they get funding from some of these Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)”.

“We are going to look at foreign companies doing criminal business here in Nigeria. We are also looking at Chinese, Indian and other companies doing illegal mining in the country.

“Some of these companies have been taking advantage of our environment but we will bring them to justice just the same way we are trying to bring to justice those Nigerians doing criminal things abroad”.

Modibbo said that NFIU will need a list of legitimate civil society organisations operating in the country in order to embark on crackdown on identified illegitimate and close down their accounts.

Stating that there are about 52, 000 NGOs operating in the country, Modibbo said the NFIU was already collaborating with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to identify culprit NGOs and other rogue organisations with the view to deregistering them.

Giving a keynote address at the event, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters in the office of the Vice President, Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu, said illicit financial flow in Africa has been on the increase.

Dipeolu urged political will on the part of the leadership to address the problem, adding that there must be transparency in curbing the menace.

He said, “With transparency, illicit financial inflow will stop. People must insist on transparent management of resources and legal financial flow,” he said.

The event was attended by delegates from other English speaking West African countries of Ghana, Gambia Senegal, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

 

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