Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday disclosed that the sum of $50billion is stolen from Africa annually by political leaders and businessmen as well as key players in both public and private sectors.
Obasanjo expressed concern that the huge funds meant for the socio-economic growth and development of the African continent are being deployed to illicit activities.
He spoke at the first Annual Nigeria Anti Fraud Conference organised in Abeokuta by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), Lagos, Nigeria Chapter.
The ex-president, who was named as the association’s Grand Patron considering his efforts against fraud and corruption in Nigeria, said the increasing smuggling of money is now giving serious concern to past and present African leaders.
He noted that Nigeria and other African countries might not develop if leaders and followers turned deaf ears to the ugly trend.
He, therefore, called for concerted efforts towards curbing smuggling of funds to foreign lands.
Obasanjo charged financial professionals and all members of the association to help fight fraud and corruption in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
He said, “$50 billion, annually, is illicitly taken away from Africa. This is a major concern for African leaders, past and present. We are now trying and putting up efforts to ensure that we prevent it.
“Organisations like you can also help us and Africa fight corruption and fraud in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.”
Speaking earlier, President and Chief Executive Officer of ACFE, Godwin Oyedokun, lauded Obasanjo for his commitment to sanitising Nigeria during and even after his tenure.
Oyedokun said, “It is really a delight to host Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Your acceptance of our invitation is an indication that you have the love of this nation at heart. Let me say that two things informed our decision to have you in our midst.
“First, ACFE, Lagos Nigeria Chapter recognises your role in sanitising the Nigeria system before, during and even after you have left government. Secondly, we want to honour you as our Grand Patron, the one we could always run to, for advice, guidance and mentorship.
“Thanks very much for honouring us with your presence – may God continue gracefully add to your age.”