London Tour Spotlights Nigerian Corrupt Money Funneled Through Britain
Anti-corruption activists hoping to shine a light on the hundreds of millions of dollars funneled through London every year are organizing tours of properties allegedly bought with suspect money.
Corruption has long been endemic in Nigeria. A corruption perception index by Transparency International ranks the country 149th out of 180 countries.
Nigeria’s government under President Muhammadu Buhari has pursued the seizure of UK assets belonging to officials accused of corruption, but has failed to secure their release.
Matthew Page, as associate fellow at the foreign policy think-tank Chatham House, said the agreement was important but that UK authorities needed to do more. “This is an important first step but must be followed by additional investigations and forfeitures of the hundreds of millions of pounds in stolen public funds that Nigerian kleptocrats have stashed in the UK over the decades,” he said.
“The return of stolen assets is always good news, but it is also a reminder that this government needs to do more to ensure that the world’s most corrupt individuals are not able to live, school and spend their ill-gotten gains in the UK as freely as they do now.”
Susan Hawley, executive director of Spotlight on Corruption, said UK was not yet “hostile to corrupt money.”
“It has taken 9 years from when Ibori was convicted to get to this point. The case illustrates how difficult it is to confiscate corrupt assets in the UK,” she said.
Nigeria has pledged the funds would support substantial key infrastructure work around the country, despite the fact the money was laundered from Delta state, where much of the population does not benefit from the country’s vast oil wealth.
The latest tour focuses on corrupt money coming from Nigeria. Henry Ridgwell reports from Britain.