Nigeria, UK Sign Pact Against Corruption
February 22, (THEWILL) – Nigeria, the Government of the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a joint commitment to continue the fight against corruption.
The MoU, which was signed between the Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford, and the Attorney General of Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, has set out the terms and understanding between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Federal Government of Nigeria, to make the compensation payment.
At the signing of the MoU, Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford, said the signed agreement will enable compensation of £210,610 payment to be made to Nigeria, following a successful investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office relating to the use of corrupt agents in the oil and gas sector.
According to Ford, in a global economy where international trade is vital, it is more important than ever that companies operate with integrity and transparency.
“Illicit financial flows, bribery, and corruption stifle economic growth, trade, stable governance and the security of both our countries, the Security and Defence Dialogue held in February 2022 between our two countries reaffirmed both the UK and Nigeria’s commitment to work together to tackle illicit financial flows, bribery, and corruption. The UK has a zero-tolerance policy to corruption and we hope that today’s signing sends a clear statement about our commitment to this”, she said.
Ford also explained that “The compensation payment from the UK to Nigeria, was secured after a four-year corruption investigation led by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the UK. The money was obtained through a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA), which is when a prosecutor agrees to defer prosecution in exchange for the defendant agreeing to fulfill certain requirements such as accepting criminal liability for offenses and paying the appropriate compensation. In this case, the DPA was agreed with Amec Foster Wheeler (AFWEL), relating to the use of corrupt agents in the oil and gas sector.
Adding that, “This compensation payment from the UK to Nigeria demonstrates that when such acts of crime are identified, the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), will investigate these companies and where evidence is found will ensure that they face appropriate sanctions.”
Ford is on a three-day visit to Nigeria to take forward, ongoing efforts by both countries to build on the UK-Nigeria partnership and strengthen strong security, anti-corruption, and economic ties.
The Acting Solicitor General of the Federation, Benjamin Okolo, said Nigeria was looking forward to the conclusion of other ongoing negotiations.
“The signing of the MoU is a sign that the UK anti-bribery act will lead to a sustainable return of illegally acquired profits by business to developing countries. We are grateful that you deem it fit to return these funds, even though Nigeria did not participate in this negotiation. It shows UK’s commitment to global efforts to tackle illicit financial flows and prohibit bribery in international business. We also look forward to the conclusion of other ongoing negotiations among Nigeria, the UK, and the USA that would lead to a substantial return of stolen assets for the benefit of Nigerian people”, he said.
In another development, the United Kingdom is also providing ten million pounds of concessional aid to reduce the risk for Pension and Insurance Funds to invest in energy access and support Nigeria’s commitments to renewable energy.
Ford said, “the UK is committed to increasing both renewable energy and energy access in Nigeria, driving clean, sustainable, and resilient growth. As the world looks to transition to clean energy growth, we are witnessing an era-defining opportunity for the private sector. This transaction is particularly exciting as it brings together UK government support with the institutional capital, which is essential to grow the sector at scale.”
The agreement was signed between the UK’s Minister for Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Vicky Ford, and the Minister of State for Power Mr. Goddy Geddy Agba in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The Nigeria minister of state for power, Mr. Goddy Agba, said Nigeria had committed itself towards clean energy and had put in place to actualize the commitment.
“Nigeria kick-started its clean energy transition as far back as 2014, with the first Solar Hybrid projects executed across Lagos, Kaduna, and the Borno States. Since then we have continued to raise ambition by putting requisite regulations and policies in place, developing investor graded data for project development, and securing the five hundred and fifty million NEP facility from the world bank and African development bank”, he said.