A professor of Economics and non-executive director of the board of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Mike Obadan, has disclosed that a research carried out showed that the Nigerian economy could be as large as $327 billion in the year 2030 if corruption in the country was reduced to the level of Ghana, Malaysia and Colombia.
Prof Obadan, who spoke at the Anti-money Laundering/Counter-Financing of Terrorism lecture organised by the Inter-governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) in Benin on Monday, stated that with a reduced corruption ratio, West African countries could have been at par with countries such as Indonesia and Singapore, adding that corruption and money laundering have inflicted great pain on the development of the West Africa region.
Speaking at the public lecture held at the Senate Chambers the University of Benin,
Prof Obadan noted that the occurrence of corruption naturally leads to money laundering as “stolen assets of a public official are useless unless they are placed, layered, and integrated into the global financial network in a manner that does not raise suspicion.”
He said, “Corruption generates huge profits/proceeds that need to be laundered or “cleaned” in order for them to have an appearance of legality or enter the financial system without the stigma of illegality.
“Due to the close link between corruption and money laundering, various international fora have noted that a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy must also include actions to prevent and control the laundering of corruption proceeds.”
In his address, the director of Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit and GIABA national correspondent, Mr Francis Usani, said the creation of GIABA was a major response and contribution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to fight money laundering and corruption, which have enmeshed the economies of the sub-region with far reaching apprehension and consequences on the citizens.
In his remark, the director-general of GIABA, who was represented by the Director of Programmes and Project of GIABA, Dr Buno Nduka, said the primary mandate of GIABA was to develop measures to protect the economies of member states from abuse and the laundering of the proceeds of crimes and to strengthen cooperation amongst its member States.
The lecture was attended by a representative of the vice Chancellor of the UNIBEN, Prof Faraday Orunmwense, students of the institution, and other universities such as the Benson Idahosa University, Benin, and Wellspring University, Benin.