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Africa: Stolen Wealth

AfricaFocus Bulletin
Apr 14, 2006 (060414)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

"Corruption is bleeding Africa to death and the cost is borne by the poor. ... Much of the money is banked in Britain or our overseas territories and dependencies. ... We want our government to get tough on corruption." - Hugh Bayley, MP, Chair of the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group

The Africa All Party Parliamentary Group report, "The Other Side of the Coin: The Role of the UK in Corruption in Africa," was released on March 29. Striking a similar theme, representatives of Transparency International's African chapters released the "Nairobi Declaration" on April 7, calling for international action to support the recovery and repatriation of Africa's stolen wealth.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains two press releases from Transparency International on recovery of Africa's stolen wealth, and a press release from the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group in the United Kingdom recommending new measures to block UK complicity in corruption in Africa.

For more information see

Previous AfricaFocus Bulletins dealing with corruption include

Kenya: Githongo Report

UK/Africa: The Damage We Do

Kenya: Corruption Fight Stalling

USA/Africa: Oil and Transparency

Africa: Oil and Transparency

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++

The Nairobi Declaration on International Obligations and on the Recovery and Repatriation of Africa's Stolen Wealth

Nairobi. 7 April 2006

Press Release

For more information

Transparency International, Berlin, Germany
Media Contacts: Sarah Tyler
Tel: +49-30-3438 2019/45 Fax: +49-30-3470 3912

We, the Representatives of Transparency International in 7 African Countries, Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, on 6-7 April 2006,

Affirming the fundamental human right to development of all African peoples;

Aware of the negative role that corruption has played in undermining Africa's fragile democracies and hindering her people's efforts to attain sustainable development;

Noting the emergence of recent international instruments such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention for the Combating of and Prevention of Corruption; and other interventions aimed at creating a just global socio- economic order, including global debt cancellation campaigns, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative;

Noting that despite some asset recovery successes several African countries are experiencing difficulties in obtaining appropriate mutual legal assistance in their endeavor to trace, seize, recover and repatriate assets and monies illegally appropriated and transferred abroad by their nationals and other collaborators;

Aware that well over US$ 140 billion has over the decades been illegally and corruptly appropriated from Africa, by politicians, soldiers, businesspersons and other leaders, and kept abroad in form of cash, stocks and bonds, real estate and other assets;

Observing the commitments made by the G8 and other commissions on Africa;

Persuaded that, with the co-operation of all relevant actors, Africa's stolen wealth is identifiable, traceable and potentially recoverable;

Recalling the Nyanga Declaration of March 2001 by 11 Transparency International African Chapters. Hereby Declare

  1. That it is imperative that African governments engender and demonstrate the political will to fight corruption in a meaningful way.
  2. That corruption remains one of the primary hindrances to development in Africa. Thus, for as long as governments continue to pay mere lip service to anti-corruption reform, such development and, particularly, the eradication of poverty as elaborated by the Millennium Development Goals will remain unattainable.
  3. That African governments and the international community should as a matter of priority, ensure the RATIFICATION, DOMESTICATION and IMPLEMENTATION of the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, the African Union Convention on the Combating and Prevention of Corruption, and the OECD Convention Against the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials.
  4. That it is not only illegal but BLATANTLY IMMORAL that so much wealth stolen from Africa is allowed to circulate freely in the economies of some of the world's wealthiest nations in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and diverse offshore havens.
  5. That while the call for the cancellation of African debt is noble and deserving of full support, it is inherently inconsistent to call for the cancellation of Africa's debts while much of the money originally lent, is ODIOUS, and remains illegally invested or banked in privately held accounts abroad.
  6. That it is unconscionable that individuals and corporations who are nationals of the OECD and the G 8 are enjoying measures of IMPUNITY despite their corrupt practices in Africa.
  7. That African governments and the international community should, as a matter of priority, expedite the tracing, recovery and repatriation of wealth stolen from African countries and transferred abroad, including sealing of all known loopholes, and requiring international cooperation from non-State actors such as corporations and financial institutions where there is reasonable cause to suspect illegal activity, and mandatory liquidation and repatriation of assets known to have been corruptly acquired.
  8. That all international initiatives aimed at the promulgation of a more just global socio-economic order, including campaigns for debt cancellation, should include an explicit focus on recovering and repatriating assets stolen from developing countries as a necessary condition to the realization of a more just and fair global community.
  9. That all countries should tighten their banking laws to ensure that moneys illicitly appropriated from African treasuries are not granted safe havens in banks or non-bank financial institutions operating in those countries.
  10. That African representatives of Transparency International will lobby their governments for legislative reform to seal all known loopholes that allow the illegal appropriation of public money from their treasuries and to punish the culprits, as well as to create frameworks for receiving recovered and repatriated moneys.
  11. That TI African National Chapters meeting in Nairobi express their solidarity with anti-corruption activists and National Chapters that operate in difficult circumstances wherever they are.

    Adopted at Nairobi Kenya, this 7th day of April 2006.


Audrey Gadzekpo, Ghana
Ahmed Abdalla, Kenya
Maman Wada, Niger
Mouhamadou Mbodj, S‚n‚gal
George Egaddu, Uganda
Rueben Lifuka, Zambia
Goodwill Shana, Zimbabwe

Recovering Africa's stolen money

West Africans gather to map out campaign strategy for adopting anti-corruption conventions to end the "main drain" on development

Berlin, Accra, 22 March 2006

Anti-corruption treaties are the key to getting back monies stolen from African countries, such as an estimated $10 billion embezzled by former presidents Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and Sanni Abacha in Nigeria, according to a high-level West Africa Regional workshop organised by Transparency International (TI), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the South African Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

The African Union and United Nations anti-corruption conventions can protect an African nation's assets from theft by "kleptocrats" only if West African governments move quicker to ratify and implement them, concluded the workshop, which ended today. Africa's future development depends on ending the "main drain" of capital siphoned off to European and other foreign banks.

The workshop held in Accra from 20 - 21 March, brought together about 90 parliamentarians, civil society organisations and media representatives from 13 West African nations, including TI chapters from eight West African countries.

"Corruption is economically, politically and socially undermining countries' development in Africa. These anti- corruption conventions offer a real opportunity to check corruption, but for them to be effective sufficient political traction must exist to implement the necessary anti-corruption policies and to bestow anti-corruption bodies with the authority and independence they need," said Akere Muna, founder of Transparency International's chapter in Cameroon and Vice Chair of Transparency International's Board of Directors.

"The effective implementation and monitoring of these conventions will make it harder for the corrupt to circumvent rules designed to ensure fairness and efficiency, and make it easier to punish them for illicitly enriching themselves at the expense of the people," he added.

The forum examined the two key anti-corruption conventions, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and Related Offences (AU Convention) and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Wide-ranging legislative and institutional changes may be required for the adoption of the two conventions - thus putting into place the protective measures and effective sanctions against corruption. Both the AU Convention and the UNCAC include preventive and punitive measures as well as provision for international cooperation

The workshop:

  • Called for a campaign to mobilise the public on corruption, including a campaign to inform the public about the Conventions.
  • Stressed the need for technical assistance to West African governments to assist them in the implementation of the Conventions.
  • Concluded that follow-up reviews of country progress on implementation are key to the success of the Conventions.

National groups also presented action plans for advocacy work to promote ratification and implementation of the conventions in their countries. Anti-corruption conventions in Africa provide an international framework for governments and citizens in Africa to refer to in making efforts to strengthen their governance institutions and to tackle the problem of corruption. To date the AU Convention has been ratified by 12 and the UN Convention by 19 African countries.

Africa All Party Parliamentary Group

Press Release: 29th March 2006

MPs Tell Government to Get Tough on Corruption

For more information and the full text of this and other reports:

A cross party group of MPs and peers is calling for the government to:

  • Rigorously enforce existing laws against international bribery, corruption and money laundering;
  • Bring a tough new anti-corruption bill to parliament before the end of the year
  • Appoint an anti-corruption champion to drive policy coherence across Whitehall and in Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories

Today (Wednesday the 29th of March 2006) the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group publishes its third report "The Other Side of the Coin: The Role of the UK in Corruption in Africa"

Chair of the Group, Hugh Bayley MP says:

"Corruption is bleeding Africa to death and the cost is borne by the poor. The African Union calculate that $148 billion a year is corruptly spirited out of the continent. This is six times what Africa receives in aid.

Much of the money is banked in Britain or our overseas territories and dependencies and sometimes British citizens or companies are involved in corrupt deals. We want our government to get tough on corruption, bring a tough new anti-corruption bill to parliament and bring culprits to court."

KY Amoako, former Executive Secretary to the UN Economic Commission for Africa and a member of the Tony Blair chaired Commission for Africa says: "This study has proposed very bold actions that, effectively implemented will make a significant contribution to the fight against corruption - the greatest impediment to investments in Africa. I hope it can inspire other OECD countries to examine steps that their governments and citizens can take to tackle the supply side of corruption. While it is the primary responsibility of national governments, regional and civil society in Africa to root out and punish the corruption that damages the continent so badly, it is refreshing and encouraging to see such a candid look at the other side of the coin." ... The Chairman's Summary and Recommendations of the report follow.

1. Chairman's Summary

The Africa APPG decided to carry out an inquiry into corruption and money laundering for four reasons. Firstly, the scale, extent and impact of corruption and related capital flight undoubtedly present a critical obstacle to development in Africa. Secondly, our 2005 report "The UK and Africa in 2005: How Joined up is Whitehall?" identified corruption and money laundering as areas which require better policy coherence. Thirdly, the UK fully endorsed the report of the Commission for Africa which made a number of recommendations on how western governments can support Africa's battle against corruption. The UK also chaired the 2005 G8 Summit which committed G8 countries to take action on this issue. Finally, the issues of corruption and money laundering were raised with us in consultations with members of the African Diaspora living in the UK.

"The Other Side of the Coin" looks at the responsibility of the UK to combat corruption and money laundering. We recognise the extent of the problem globally, but we focus on Africa because this is of special interest to the Africa APPG. We examine what the UK can do to support African countries to tackle corruption, because UK policy is our area of potential influence. We do not excuse corrupt rulers from their ultimate culpability for stealing from their people.

This report is by no means exhaustive but we identify three areas where the UK can and should contribute to the fight against corruption in Africa:

  1. By tackling the supply side of corruption; bribe payments and mechanisms in international trade and credit that facilitate corruption.
  2. By tackling the laundering of the proceeds of corruption.
  3. By safeguarding aid to ensure it does not become caught up in corruption or inadvertently support corrupt leaders, but is used to fight the problem.

Our detailed recommendations follow as Section 2 of this report. All are important if the UK is to address this issue comprehensively and across all departments. In particular we wish to stress the need for the UK government to:

  1. Rigorously enforce existing laws and sanctions against international bribery, corruption and money laundering.
  2. Bring to Parliament before the end of 2006 a new Anti-Corruption Bill which addresses the concerns raised about the 2003 draft Bill by the Joint Parliamentary Committee and the OECD Phase Two Review.
  3. Fully implement the Third EU Money Laundering Directive as soon as possible and well before the 2007 deadline.
  4. Ensure that Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories deal with corruption and money laundering as robustly as the UK.
  5. Report to Parliament annually on international development spending with a particular focus on transparency, effectiveness and details of support for anti-corruption priorities and strategies.
  6. Appoint an Anti-Corruption champion for a two year period to coordinate policy coherence and implementation across Whitehall and to work with devolved executives, Crown Dependencies, Overseas Territories and international partners.

Hugh Bayley MP Chairman The Africa All Party Parliamentary Group

Further recommendations

[see full report available at]

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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