Wednesday, 3 June 2009


U.S. Congress Learns About Corruption
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 Integrity
Capital 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 
you  see.
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: 

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