Nigeria, UK set guidelines for return of stolen assets

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From ANDREW OROLUS,  Abuja.
The Federal Government  and United Kingdom have set out the guidelines that will govern the procedure for the return of stolen assets from the United Kingdom.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), disclosed this  in Abuja after he and United Kingdom delegation led by a  member of Parliament and Minister of State for Immigration, Robert Goodwill signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the modalities for the return of stolen assets from the United Kingdom.
According to Malami: “We set out the guidelines that will govern the procedures for the return of assets in prompt and timely manner from the United Kingdom.”
He explained that the MOU reflects the strong desire and willingness of both countries to continue cooperation and mutual support in the return of all recovered assets.
He added that, “The objective of the MOU depicts that the process of returning stolen assets was based on mutual understanding, confidence and trust.
According to him, both countries recognize that they have a mutual interest in ensuring that returned assets are not at risk of beingmisappropriated.
“Furthermore, the fundamental purpose of asset return process was to enable those funds that had been grossly misappropriated be applied to either fund the same project or new ones as may be determined by the Nigerian government.
Malami  assured Nigerians that “nobody will steal funds that is meant for the people of Nigeria”. According to the minister, “the position of the law in Nigeria today is that all funds recovered must be paid directly into the consolidated revenue account”.
Malami assured the international community that all funds recovered within and outside Nigeria would be judiciously utilized for the project that will benefit the poorest segment of the Nigerian society as well as support reform in the justice sector.
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the UK delegation Goodwill also confirmed that Nigeria, UK have set guidelines for return of stolen assets.
“Our ability to recover and return stolen assets should send a clear message to all who seek to abhor such assets overseas that there is no safe haven in UK”.
“My government is fully committed to the return of all funds looted from the Nigerian State and we are keen to do this as soon as the necessary legal process are allowed”, he stated unequivocally.
He further asserted, ”We are committed as is Nigeria to ensure that beneficial ownership of asset is made available to relevant authorities so they know whom the real owners are of assets held in UK”.
Robert also revealed that 40 jurisdictions including British Overseas’ territories and crown dependencies had announced that they will automatically share beneficial ownership information relating to Companies, Trusts, Foundations, Shell Companies and other relevant entities and legal arrangements.

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