In a renewed effort towards stamping out the menace of corruption in developing countries, especially Nigeria, United Kingdom has set up an international corruption unit to investigate issues of corruption in these countries.
A source at the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), said with the coming in of the UK corruption unit, the fight against the menace would receive great boost in Nigeria.
“UK government is aware that unlike before, Nigeria is very serious in the fight against corruption and that is why they are lending their helping hands to join the country and other developing ones who are serious about the fight against the menace.
“Our stolen money will surely be recovered in no time. This will help in the development of infrastructure in the country and the masses will benefit immensely in the gesture.”
The source noted that the new crime unit was set up to investigate corrupt people in developing countries and that the International Corruption Unit will be the central point for investigating international corruption in the UK.
“The UK is stepping-up its work to investigate cases of international corruption affecting developing countries through a new specialist unit launched by International Development Secretary, Justine Greening.
“The new International Corruption Unit (ICU) brings together existing investigation and intelligence units funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) from the Metropolitan Police Service, City of London Police and National Crime Agency.
“The multi-agency team will be operated by the National Crime Agency and be the central point for investigating international corruption in the UK.
“Justine Greening, International Development Secretary said corruption is not only picking the pockets of the poor, it is an enemy of prosperity and a brake on a country’s development. Through the international corruption unit, the best of British law enforcement will step up our aid work combating corruption head-on across the developing world.
“Jon Benton, Joint Head of the ICU, said the work we’re doing is absolutely vital for helping countries get back what is rightfully theirs.
“The message to individuals and companies who see developing countries as fair game is that the UK has zero tolerance for overseas bribery and corruption,” the source said.
Since 2006, DFID-police units in the UK have investigated more than 150 cases of overseas bribery and recovered £200 million of stolen assets as well as successfully prosecuting 27 individuals and one company.
The source said DFID will provide £21 million to the ICU for five years to 2020, adding that combined intelligence and investigation approach is expected to deliver a significant increase in money laundering and overseas bribery cases; a greater focus on preventive action; and a more strategic approach to identifying and tackling corruption in DFID priority countries.
By Yemi Akinsuyi in Abuja