By Onyekachi Eke
The Head of Reforms, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Mr Gwimi Sebastine Peters, has commended the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and other non-state actors for their work in the fight against corruption. Mr Peters made this commendation when the staff of CISLAC visited the CCB office in Abuja today, July 16.
The visit was to introduce the project “Turning up the pressure: Tackling money laundering through multi-stakeholder approaches in ECOWAS countries” and to discuss areas of collaboration.
The focus of this project, which is funded by the European Union and Transparency International (TI), is on the implementation of existing commitments and recommendations related to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) in ECOWAS countries, with focus on Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.
It is often a challenge for elected officials to identify priorities in the fight against money laundering when faced with multiple recommendations and high-level commitments. Similarly, civil society and private sector advocates seeking to improve anti-money laundering standards may struggle to identify and coordinate priority actions. This project therefore aims at building on and going beyond high-level statements of intent, in order to direct advocacy efforts towards the implementation of priority recommendations by generating an environment of joint pressure from civil society, media, private sector companies and bodies, and key public anti-money laundering institutions.
The project officer, Gloria Okwu, stated that one of the objectives of the AML project is to bring together stakeholders, especially public office holders that have the anti-corruption mandate, in order to mount pressure on the government through committed advocacy, hence CISLAC’s visit to CCB.
In his response, Mr Peters assured CISLAC that doors for collaboration with non-state actors in the fight against corruption are always open. He noted that a salient aspect of corruption is money laundering and Nigeria’s porous borders has abetted the situation. He gave examples of how money is laundered across the borders with the use of donkeys and how a man moved large sums of money across the border while pretending to be mad.
He further stressed the need for prevention, adding that if Nigeria focuses on prevention of crime, a lot of issues emanating from corrupt practices will significantly reduce; the need for non-state actors to engage the public and create awareness on the various ways money is laundered; and the need for inter-agency cooperation.