Jonathan, Mbeki seek check against illicit fund flows from Africa

By The Citizen

President Goodluck Jonathan and South Africa's former President Thabo Mbeki have canvassed the need to check the outflow of huge funds from the African continent as they met Monday at the State House in Abuja.

Mbeki, who is the head of the United Nations' High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, arrived in Nigeria on Sunday to receive the 'African of the Year, 2012 Award' by Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust newspapers in Abuja.

The former South African president earlier yesterday led the delegation of the panel on a courtesy call on Jonathan at the Villa. Both leaders held their talks behind closed doors.

A statement later quoted Jonathan as saying that the huge funds being illicitly taken out of Africa could solve most of the continent's infrastructural and other problems. 'So, we must look within and check this hemorrhage,' he stated.

He said Africa 'needs robust assistance from the developed world' to check this outflow, because 'corruption would be minimised if there are no places to hide the illicit funds.'

He challenged oil refineries worldwide to ask questions about the source of the crude they refine and added that his administration was taking definite steps to check the theft of crude oil from Nigeria.

Jonathan also called on the panel to carry out an in-depth and comprehensive study of the issue and produce a template that would help the continent combat the menace.

He directed all relevant ministries and agencies of government to cooperate fully with the panel.

Earlier, Mbeki said the continent currently loses at least $50 billion every year through illicit fund flows. He added that the panel was determined to study the problem and propose solutions.

He said the panel would like to meet relevant members of the National Assembly in view of the need for legislation to check the potent threat to the survival of the continent.