ANEEJ hails return of $73 million Malabu funds, seeks CSOs involvement in utilization

The Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has hailed the return of $73million (about N21.1billion) of the Malabu Funds to Nigeria by the UK and has expressed a desire that CSOs should participate in the monitoring of the use of the funds, in the spirit of the MOU which Nigeria signed with the UK government.

ANEEJ Executive Director, the Rev David Ugolor, while making this call upon confirmation that the monies have been domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria congratulated the UK government and President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that this return of the funds to Nigeria establishes the commitment of the UK government to the asset recovery drive, and the Nigerian president as a true African champion of the anti-corruption fight.

‘Before he heads for the African Union meeting in Addis Ababa today, President Buhari should first announce receipt of the Malabu funds and thereafter initiate framework mechanism which would drive modalities on how the returned funds are to be spent as this would reinforce people’s confidence in the asset recovery effort of government. Doing this means that the Buhari administration effectively translates the gains of the Global Forum for Asset Recovery meeting in the United States last year to practical reality’, ANEEJ Executive Director has said.

Prior to the GFAR summit in Washington in 2017, the Federal Government of Nigeria, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK in the spirit of the Open Government Partnership, OGP, and went on to develop an action plan along four thematic areas – zero tolerance to corruption, access to information, citizen participation and fiscal accountability.Through the Honourable Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Federal government announced the recovery of $85million of recovered Malabu Funds at an ANEEJ Pre-GFAR consultative meeting in Abuja.

‘To this end therefore, it would be fitting for government to give a role to Civil Society Organisations in the asset recovery campaign. We believe this would bring a modicum of transparency and accountability to the asset recovery and return processes’, Rev Ugolor said.