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Africa loses $50bn yearly to mineral resources smuggling – OBJ

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said $50 billion was being illicitly taken out of the African continent annually in form of mineral resources.

He said it was time concerted efforts were made by African leaders to stop the development which, according to him, is affecting the continent’s economy.

Obasanjo stated this Wednesday night at a cocktail in his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, as part of activities marking  the 1st Annual Nigeria Anti-Fraud Conference with the theme: “War Against Corruption in Nigeria: Fraud Fighters’ Dilemma.”

The 4-day conference was organised by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Texas, USA, Lagos chapter.

Obasanjo expressed concern that when the federal government “gives licence to foreign companies, there is lack of monitoring on what those companies take, how they take it and where they take it to.”

He said: “We must all do what we have to do to reduce the $50 billion which is being illicitly taken out of Africa annually. $50 billion is being illicitly taken out of Africa every year. Most of it are in form of finished minerals.

“I was in Abakaliki two days ago and I saw an Indian company involved in transporting lead and tin. Once they have taken their licences from the federal government, nobody really pays attention to what they take, how they take it and where they take it to.”

He urged the association to collaborate with other international organisations like Transparent International (TI) to ensure corruption is fought to a standstill.

President and Chief Executive, ACFE Lagos, Dr Godwin Oyedokun, said the conference was put together with a view to learning new fraud fighting techniques.

“Fighting fraud is akin to being shot at from all angles. It is a fight that requires us to put up all in our arsenal to fight it. Fighting fraud is not a job for certain individuals alone; it is a fight for all.

“One of the reasons this conference has been put together is to enable us to learn new fraud fighting techniques. This is because fraud changes in scope and dimension in the same way society changes. Strategies that could curb a particular trend in the past may not be effective today. We must be attuned to new trends in fraud and how it can be checked.

“Otherwise, organisations and the society in general will be worse off at the end of the day. Resource would be frittered away, confidence will be eroded in institutions and there could be break down of law and order,” he said.

About Peter Moses, Abeokuta

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