Corrupt Nigerian officials have begun to panic as Buhari signs a bilateral agreement with the United Arab Emirate to expose looters who pile up fund in the country.
President Buhari and Crown Prince of UAE witnessing the signing of Finance agreements by Minister of Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun
and UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs
There was panic among corrupt incumbent and former government officials Tuesday after news filtered in that President Muhammadu Buhari has signed agreements with the United Arab Emirate on repatriation of stolen funds and extradition of culpable officials, Premium Times exclusively reports.
The Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, which will allow the UAE government return monies hidden or invested in banks and real estates in the country, was among a series of other bilateral agreements signed
by the President’s delegation, which was in the country for the World Energy Forum.
Other agreements signed with the government of that country included: Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, Agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection, Judicial Agreements on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
Three of these agreements – the Judicial Agreement on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters – are particularly giving those who may have hidden their ill-gotten wealth in the country a lot of worries.
The Premium Times report reveals multiple security sources confirmed that as the news of the signing of the agreements broke, some ex-officials started making frantic efforts to either escape from that country or relocate their slush funds out of the reach of the government.
The UAE has become a Mecca for Nigeria’s wealthy who are drawn by the expensive high rise properties, glitzy malls and ritzy hotels in the oil-rich country.
A security source who has been investigating the pattern of Nigeria’s investment in the country told Premium Times that at least $200 billion allegedly stolen from the country’s treasury by former government officials is believed to have been stashed in banks and invested in properties in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, two of UAE’s most prominent cities.
With the signing of the agreements the government can now actively demand the repatriation of funds hidden in the country by convicted former officials as well as demand the extradition of other Nigerian fugitives residing in the country.
Presidency insiders said Mr. Buhari considers the agreement with the UAE as a “major joker” in his anti-corruption war.
“There is abundance intelligence that a substantial chunk of Nigeria’s stolen wealth is the Emirate, with a number of fugitives hiding there,” the source said.
“With this agreement, they can now be made to face justice, and their loot recovered. The presidency sees this as a major achievement.
“The process for the agreements had been on for months but the presidency was able to keep it under wraps so as not to tip off the criminals.”
Another top government official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitive nature of the matter, said with the agreement, Mr. Buhari was now set to share intelligence with the UAE authorities on Nigerian fugitives hiding there and Nigeria’s ill-gotten wealth stashed there.