The Federal Government of Nigeria and the British government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the modalities for the return of Nigeria’s stolen assets.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, signed the MoU on behalf of the Federal Government in Abuja on Tuesday.
Malami said that the MoU reflected the desire and willingness of both countries to continue cooperation and mutual support.
The minister outlined the objectives of the MoU to include the fact that the processes of returning stolen assets was a partnership recognising the interest of both countries and based on mutual understanding, confidence and trust.
“That both countries recognised that they have a mutual interest in ensuring that returned assets are not at risk of being misappropriated again.
“And that both countries recognised they have obligations toward their own citizens for providing such assurances.
“That both countries recognised the importance of ensuring that the highest possible standard of transparency and accountability are applied for the return of assets,” Malami stated.
He assured the international community that all funds recovered would be judiciously utilised for projects that would benefit the poorest segment of the Nigerian society.
According to British Minister of State for Immigration, Robert Goodwill, the British government was committed to the return of all funds looted from the Nigerian State.
“We are keen to do this as soon as the necessary legal process allow.
“As outlined at the summit, we will be taking steps to accelerate the procedures for identification and confiscation of illegally acquired assets,” he said.
The Member of British Parliament added that his country was as committed as Nigeria in ensuring that beneficial ownership of assets was made available to relevant authorities so they know who the real owners of assets held in the UK are.
“Forty jurisdictions, including British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies announced that they will automatically share beneficial ownership information relating to companies, trusts, foundations, Shell companies and other relevant entities and legal arrangements.
“It is important that everyone can see how returned assets are used to benefit Nigerians. We have therefore agreed in this MoU to be fully transparent about this,” he added.