The Federal Republic of Nigeria reaffirms its commitment to the global fight against corruption

The Federal Republic of Nigeria reaffirms its commitment to the global fight against corruption at UN General Assembly Special Session against Corruption.

On 2 June 2021, the international community held its first-ever United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) focused on tackling corruption. The session marked a historic shift in global attitudes towards tackling corruption across the world, with speakers addressing the long-lived impunity enjoyed by corrupt individuals and organisations.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) was represented at the UNGASS event by Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa, who reaffirmed the country’s commitment to the anti-corruption fight – both in Nigeria and globally.

Threats posed by illicit financial flows

Mr Bawa claimed that illicit financial flows continue to have “huge negative impacts on the stability, peace, and economic prospects of millions, particularly in developing countries” and continued to highlight the FRN’s close collaboration with international partners in a bid to curb illicit financial flows.

Alongside British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab MP, Mr Bawa referenced the recent successful repatriation of £4.2 million in stolen funds back from the UK to Nigeria as an example of the strong inter-agency ties binding both countries in the fight against global corruption.

The FRN is fully aware of the potentially devastating impact of corruption. BVI-based shell company P&ID is currently aggressively pursuing a US$10 billion arbitral award, based on a sham agreement the FRN believes was procured through fraud and corruption. It is the FRN’s case that the agreement was designed to deliberately defraud the Nigerian people.

The FRN alleges that P&ID used a web of bribery to secure a gas deal with the FRN in 2010 and to obtain an arbitration award in its favour. P&ID has since tried to use the international courts to enforce the award. Strong prima facie evidence of fraud has been established by the UK Courts and the case will now proceed to a full fraud trial.

Greater beneficial ownership transparency

Another key matter in the global anti-corruption drive is achieving greater beneficial ownership transparency, to ensure full disclosure on the ultimate facilitators and beneficiaries of corruption. This will be critical to support global anti-corruption efforts.

To take one example, P&ID is 75% owned by Lismore Capital, a Cayman Islands-based entity of which little is known. The remaining 25% is owned by Process Holdings Limited, which is part of ‘vulture fund’ VR Capital’s corporate web. If the case were to go against the FRN, it is unclear whose pockets billions of dollars would land in.

Nigeria is committed to supporting and driving improved disclosures of ownership structures to foster greater accountability, and importantly mitigate the risks of corruption.

The FRN’s resolve has been strengthened by the UNGASS event as it is clear the global coalition against corruption continues to grow. The FRN will continue to foster strong ties with international partners in the fight against corruption and will continue to defend the Nigerian people from one of the world’s largest scams.