Illegal money movement, a major threat to achieving SDGs in 2030 -ICPC

The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission ICPC has identified Illicit Financial Flows as a major threat to the achievement of of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030 in Nigeria.

The anti-graft commission which described IFFs as illegal movements of money or capital from one country to another for various reasons, saying it was making efforts to stop the menace.The Head of Public Enlightenment and Education Unit, ICPC Ondo State Office, Mr Suleiman Achile, stated this on Tuesday in Akure, at a one-day sensitisation workshop on bringing about behavioural change in society, using the National Ethics and Integrity Policy.According to him, the huge amount of money the country had lost to the IFFs were enough to change the fortune of the country for better.

Achile said, “IFFs can be defined as funds illegally earned, transferred or utilised within a country and across international borders. It could be money legally earned but moved wrongfully.

“The major sources of these funds are proceeds of corruption, theft, bribery. criminal activities such as drug trafficking, smuggling and commercial activities such as tax evasion, trade mis-invoicing among others

“The African Union Illicit Financial Flows Report estimates that Africa is losing nearly 50 billion dollars annually through profit shifting by multinational corporations and about 20 percent of this figure is from Nigeria alone.

“The IFFs are a major threat to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals or Agenda 2030. The huge resources lost to IFFS are enough to fund public services and initiatives, and other critical investments, revamp the economy, create job opportunities, and alleviate poverty.”

Achille explained that in the quest of the commission to find a lasting solution to the menace , it has beamed its search light on areas that are prone to IFFs such as tax avoidance, tax evasion, base erosion and profit shifting.

“The commission has initiated a system study and review of the IFFS in the oil and gas, and as well as tax sectors. It has also constituted an IFFs/Tax Fraud Group to address the menace.

“The commission has also scaled up its operations in profiling all companies mentioned in petitions to it (the commission) to ensure that they are not in any way short-changing the nation.”

In his welcome address, the chairman of the commission, Prof. Babajide Owasanoye, called on religious leaders, individuals and entire citizens to change their behaviours towards fighting against corruption in the society.

Represented by the Provost of the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, Prof. Tunde Babawale, the ICPC boss stated that enforcement of the law and order approach to fight against corruption alone was not enough to get rid of the menace from the society.

Owasanoye said, “It has become imperative for citizens to respect the laws of the land , keep their words, do their duty with diligence, respect and value other human beings, not get involved in stealing from the government, cheating others or any for of deception.

“Unfortunately, the reality is that many people are far from the ideal. Therefore, there is need to make intentional efforts to turn around negative behaviours to positive ones through the inculcation of positive values.

“Using the behaviour change approach, saving the country from an erosion of ethics and collapse of values and will help the country reach national development goals among others.”