From the archives: 10 former governors stole $250billion in three years

Chairman, Nigerian Governors' Forum, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi
Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi

By Akinola Ajibade

Ten former governors were yesterday fingered to have stolen $250billion while in office in what ECOWAS said represents the highest corruption index in Africa.

In a report, the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), an agency of ECOWAS, said Nigeria, by the actions of the governors scored 87.3 per cent, the highest in Africa on the scale of bribery to government officials.

GIABA said other 15 African countries measuring high on the scale as well include Liberia, Ghana, Cote’dvoire, Guinea, Bissau, Benin Republic, others.

GIABA is the arm of ECOWAS that has the mandate to combat anti-money laundering activities and terrorist financing in West Africa.

Though, the body did not name the governors, it noted, however, that the sum was all stolen in three years.

A breakdown of the report showed that: Corruption-Money Laundering Nexus, Nigeria scored 87.3 per cent in Bribery of government officials, followed by Ghana (56.7 per cent) Cote’dvoire (55 per cent), Liberia (44.4 per cent) and Benin Republic (40 per cent). Also, Nigeria scored 23.6 per cent in bribing foreign officials, followed by Guinea Bissau (16.7 per cent, Cote’dvoire (14 per cent) and Ghana (6.7 per cent). Nigeria maintained its leading position, scoring 86.6 per cent in embezzlement, misappropriation or other diversions of property by government officials, trailed by Sierra-Leone (82.4 per cent), Guinea Bissau (66.7 per cent), Ghana (56.7 per cent) and Benin Republic (52.0 per cent).

Under illegal transfer or taking of money abroad, Nigeria scored 57.0 per cent) Liberia (45.5 per cent), Guinea Bissau (36.1 per cent), and Sierra Leone (35.3 per cent).In contracts inflation, Nigeria has 86.1 per cent, Sierra-Leone (82.4 per cent) Guinea Bissau (55.56 per cent), Ghana (56.7 per cent), Liberia (45.5 per cent) and Benin Republic (28.0 per cent).

In bribery and embezzlement in the private sector, Nigeria(41.6 per cent), Sierra- Leone (44.1 per cent), Liberia (22.7 per cent), Ghana (10.0 per cent) and Benin Republic (12.0 per cent). Nigeria is grossly abusing office as it scored 79.7 per cent, Sierra-Leone (76.5 per cent), Guinea Bissau 958.3 per cent and Ghana (46.7 per cent).

The Director General of GIABA, Dr Abdullahi Shehu, said the agency has supported legal and financial institutions with a view to control anti-money laundering activities. Shehu said the agency has organised seminar for judges, prosecutors and bankers to enable them know how to handle corrupt practices well.

According to him, GIABA’s role is to present and recommend its findings to the member states and not to implement legislations that would deal with such practices in the region.
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