Hearing Before the Financial Services Committee of the House of Representatives Highlights Nigeria and Romania as Case Studies and Key Insights into Money Laundering
Excerpts of the statements to the Committee by Nuhu Ribadu of Nigeria, Monica Macovei, former Justice Minister of Romania, and Raymond W. Baker, Director, Global Financial IntegrityCapital Loss and Corruption: The Example of Nigeria
Testimony before the House Financial Services Committee
May 19, 2009 by NUHU RIBADU
Visiting Fellow at St. Anthony’s College, University of Oxford; Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development; and former Executive Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of Nigeria
…. The corruption endemic to our region is not just about bribery, but about mismanagement, incompetence, abuse of office, and the inability to establish justice and the rule of law. As resources are stolen, confidence not just in democratic governance but in the idea of just leadership ebbs away. As the lines of authority with the government erode, so too do traditional authority structures. In the worst cases, eventually all that is left to hold society together is the idea that someday it may be your day to get yours. This does little to build credible, accountable institutions or put the right policies in place.
The African Union has reported that corruption drains the region of some $140 billion a year - 25% of the continent's official GDP.that about 25% of the continent's official GDP.
In Nigeria, it is believed that former President Abacha took himself between $5-6 billion and invested most of it in the West -- in 80% of the grand corruption that takes place in Africa the money is kept somewhere else, enabled by systems of poor regulation that allow abuse by those looking for ways to profit.
Between 1960 and 1999, Nigerian officials had stolen or wasted more than $440 billion. That is six times the Marshall Plan, the total sum needed to rebuild a devastated Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War. When you look across a nation and a continent riddled with poverty and weak institutions, and you think of what this money could have done – only then can you truly understand the crime of corruption, and the almost inhuman indifference that is required by those wield it for personal gain.
The West must understand that corruption is part of the reason that African nations cannot fight diseases properly, cannot feed their populations, cannot educate their children and use their creativity and energy to open the doorway to the future they deserve. The crime is not just theft. It is negligence. Wanton negligence, the full impact of which is likely impossible to know.
I have said this before, and while I know it is a controversial statement, I stand by the idea that corruption is responsible for as many deaths as the combined results of conflicts and HIV/AIDS on the African continent.
…. On a regional dimension, it is estimated that some $20 billion leaves Africa annually through the illicit export of money extorted from development loan contracts. This money is deposited in overseas banks by a network of politicians, civil servants and businessmen. This figure is now roughly equal to the entire amount of aid from the US to Sub‐Saharan Africa every year.
… Corruption is often viewed as a political challenge, and many donor nations would rather support
more humanitarian‐based causes, like health and education. But it is time for everyone to understand that by pumping money into development efforts without a clear accountability mechanism as a part of such programs, these efforts are often as good as putting money down the drain. The US has many new
health and development initiatives in Africa – in Nigeria alone the total is over a half billion dollars a year. You owe it to yourselves and to your taxpayers to ask how this money is spent, ask for results, and insist that any such funds are spent to the good of the people. I believe if you looked more closely at some of the organizations in Africa tasked with utilizing these funds, you would not like what
I urge you to view he fight against corruption as the ultimate humanitarian effort, for surely there is no stronger chain to shackle the poor to their lot. Corruption may have taken some shots at us, but what it is doing to ordinary Nigerians every day is far worse and far more fatal. When corruption is king, there is no accountability of leadership and no trust in authority. …How can you call on your government to address what ails society and build stronger institutions?
You can see more from other countries here:
Now look at what this zambian lady, at war with foreign aid, has to say. I personally think that she is right but, being part of the problem, I don't see how far she will get in finding solutions: