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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

UK no Longer Safe for Looters, says Minister

United Kingdom’s (UK) Minister for Africa and Department for International Development (DFID) Grant Shapps has warned that his country would no longer be a haven for looters of African resources and treasury.

He said corruption, money laundering and culture of impunity have done incalculable damage to African development.
The minister added the damage led UK government to decide to protect the integrity of its financial system by exposing those who want to cart away the continent’s resources.
Shapps said his home government would provide the necessary support for President Muhammadu Buhari administration for taking the lead in fighting corruption in the continent.
The minister spoke yesterday at Government House, Kaduna, at the inauguration of a £100 million public sector accountability and governance programme initiated by the UK to support Nigeria’s development agenda.
Shapps, who was accompanied by top British Embassy officials including its High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, said: “Corruption in Nigeria also affects the UK directly. Where we have evidence, we will continue to take action to protect the integrity of the UK’s financial system and prevent its use for money laundering purposes.”
He said the British government was committed to assisting Nigeria in increasing its security, stability and prosperity by ensuring that the war against corruption of Buhari was given maximum support.
The visiting minister assured that the UK government would assist in building Nigeria’s vital institutions to fight corruption and insecurity.
He stressed that no efforts would be spared in punishing those who were bent on stealing the nation’s wealth.
The minister, who addressed the gathering which included the representatives of Kano and Jigawa state governments, said: “Nigeria matters to the UK. The UK is fully committed to helping Nigeria increase its security, stability and prosperity. Tackling corruption is imperative to that. We share and support President Buhari’s commitment to rooting it out.
“We will continue to provide capacity-building, technical and investigative support to Nigeria to tackle corruption and we are scaling up this support.”
He added: “We have an opportunity now to develop a comprehensive partnership across these areas. I hope that we can work together to quickly drive this forward.”
On the public sector accountability and governance initiative, Shapps said the programme was designed firstly “to build institutions that are accountable and able to meet citizens’ needs”.
Secondly, he added, “to enhance scrutiny of public expenditure through parliamentary oversight and citizen engagement to hold government to account”. Thirdly, to enable “officials and citizens make informed decisions about government’s activities”.
Shapps noted that “to fight poverty, you need lots of things. You need to end conflict. You need to make sure medicines and health workers are there. You need to ensure people have food. You need to ensure you have jobs”.
“But for all these things to happen, you need to end corruption. You need to make sure that the money is used well. That public services reach citizens, including the poor. You need to ensure that you have an environment that allows businesses to invest their money and create jobs – without unnecessary red tape. You need public institutions that make it easy for citizens to access services without having to pay bribe”.
The British Minister however noted that “none of this can happen where corruption is allowed to thrive”.
Kaduna State Governor Nasril El-Rufai hailed the British minister and his entourage, saying that the coming of the Buhari’s government in Nigeria was a divine intervention to correct the ills that had plagued the nation.
The governor El-Rufai also lauded the British government for its role in ensuring a peaceful election in Nigeria, saying the Federal Government would not let the international community down on developmental issues.

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