It is becoming increasingly clear since the middle of last century that the phenomenon of bribery, corruption and stolen funds is one of the principal causes of under-development and poverty in the global south. The stolen wealth of Nigeria and other ECOWAS Countries have not only found safe haven in banks and financial institutions of the western Countries but has become a major source of funds for the purchase of properties in London and the United Arab Emirates in particular. Every year, hundreds of billions of pounds of corrupt money is laundered and invested in property by corrupt individuals. HEDA through the creative platform of anti-corruption and accountability partners is creating a financial and technical support base for investigative citizens and journalists, operationally hampered by financial constraint and or inadequate organisational support for investigative journalism to follow suspected assets and their investigations to logical conclusion.
The objectives of the project are to:
The platform is designed to create a safe and secured information hub citizens as well as actors within the private and public sectors towards engaging in demand for accountability, probity and transparency through monitoring and reporting corruption, money laundering and illicit financial flow within and out of Nigeria. The aim is to engender sustained awareness and engagement at the national and international levels in dealing with illicit financial flow, money laundering and expose inadequacies in the financial system of some of the Countries of destination. The international component of the project is necessitated by the need to mobilise the active diaspora community for assets monitoring, tracking and reporting.
HEDA, and its partners (Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, Finance Uncovered, Corner House and University of Kent Law Centre) will be hosting three local training workshops across the geo-political zones of Nigeria for local anti-corruption and accountability campaigners, journalists, bloggers and officials of anti-corruption agencies. In addition, there will be two international training workshops, one each in United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates, to empower citizens and professionals with knowledge and skills relevant for tracing stolen wealth and assets across the country and in foreign countries.
The asset tracing website and its app serves as one-stop shop for resource materials on money laundering, illicit financial flow, stolen asset recovery, whistleblowing and special platform for publishing reports of investigative journalism. Trainees and other activists will be provided with technical assistance in reporting identified cases to relevant agencies. This will serve as source of materials for researchers, bloggers, students and journalists in the asset tracing and recovery advocacy.