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Nigeria has been ranked among leading countries in the world, which have lost huge sums of money through illicit outflows between 2001 and 2010. A December 2012 report from Global Financial Integrity (GFI) entitled: "Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2001-2010," just released, showed that Nigeria lost $129 billion out of the $8.56 trillion lost by developing nations within the period.

The report, written by GFI's Lead Economist, Dev Kar, and GFI's Economist, Sarah Freitas, ranked Nigeria seventh on the table with China leading the pack with $2.74 trillion in illicit outflows.

GFI, a Washington-based research and advocacy organisation, noted in the report that $859 billion in illicit outflows in 2010, showed an increase of 11 per cent over that of 2009, adding that the capital outflows stem from crime, corruption, tax evasion and other illicit activities.

But in a swift reaction, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said the Federal Government was not aware that such amount of money was illegally taken away from the country.

The report is the first by GFI in incorporating a new, more conservative estimate of illicit financial flows.

It facilitates comparisons with previous estimates from GFI updates and identifies crime, corruption and tax evasion as biggest channels with nearly $6 trillion stolen from poor countries.

According to the report, besides China with a cumulative loss of $2.74 trillion during the 10-year period, Mexico lost $476 billion; Malaysia, $285 billon; Saudi Arabia, $210 billion; Russia, $152 billion; Philippines, $138 billion; Nigeria, $129 billion; India, $123 billion; Indonesia, $109 billion; and United Arab Emirates, $107 billion.

"Astronomical sums of dirty money continue to flow out of the developing world and into offshore tax havens and developed country banks. Regardless of the methodology, it is clear that developing economies are haemorrhaging more and more money at a time when rich and poor nations alike are struggling to spur economic growth.

"This report should be a wake-up call to world leaders that more must be done to address these harmful outflows. The estimates provided by either methodology are still likely to be extremely conservative as they do not include trade mispricing in services, same-invoice trade mispricing, secret transactions, and dealings conducted in bulk cash. This means that much of the proceeds of drug trafficking, human smuggling, and other criminal activities, which are often settled in cash, are not included in these estimates," the report said.

The report further stated that $859 billion of illicit outflows lost in 2010, was a significant increase from that of 2009 during which the developing countries lost $776 billion under the new methodology.

"This has very big consequences for developing economies. Poor countries lost nearly a trillion dollars that could have been used to invest in healthcare, education, and infrastructure. It's nearly a trillion dollars that could have been used to pull people out of poverty and save lives," it said.

Reacting to the report, Okupe said the Federal Government was not aware that such amount of money was stolen.

Responding to inquiries by THISDAY on the matter, Okupe said: "We are not aware that such amount of money was stolen. I have not seen the report and therefore I cannot react without seeing or reading the said report.

"Until I see and read the said report, then I can comment."

Meanwhile, major oil industry executives are expected to gather in Abuja this week for an annual conference as Nigeria comes under pressure over reports alleging large-scale corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector.

The conference, beginning today, is expected to see appearances by ministers and top officials from oil majors Shell, Exxon, Total and Chevron, as well as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

It comes on the heels of a report from a government-appointed panel alleging that Nigeria has lost tens of billions of dollars in recent years through questionable practices in the industry.

Another audit released earlier this month said NNPC owes the government $8.3 billion for the period between 2009 and 2011.

Beyond that, a parliamentary committee report in 2012 said $6.8 billion in revenue was lost between 2009 and 2011 through the fuel subsidy programme.

Despite pledges from the government to clean up the oil sector, there has been little change in response to such findings. NNPC and firms including Shell, which has been the country's biggest producer, have denied any wrongdoing.

There is not likely to be much discussion of the reports at the conference itself, with topics such as Nigeria's long-stalled effort to overhaul its oil industry more likely to be in the spotlight.

"You have all the issues there," Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Transparency International's local partner, said of the reports on industry mismanagement. "Solutions have been provided, but there is no political will to act on them."

Nigeria has however renewed its push to overhaul the oil industry, presenting a fresh 223-page Petroleum Industry Bill to the legislature last July which would reshape taxes and royalties as well as restructure NNPC, among other measures.

The bill has been stalled, as previous versions have, although the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has said that negotiations are ongoing with the industry.

Major oil firms have argued that the fiscal terms in the bill are too harsh and would prevent new investment, while the government has said it is fair to all sides, though it is willing to work out a compromise.

With Agency Reports

 

Ghana will be celebrating her 56th birthday as an independent State from British Colonial rule on Wednesday, March 6, which made the West African nation the first to break its links with colonial authority.

 The event is normally marked as statutory public Day and characterised by parades by school children, security personnel, workers and other identifiable bodies at the Black Stars Square, in Accra and throughout the country.

It is also an opportunity for the Head of State to address the nation to whip up the fervour of nationalism.

Although the British Colonialists made moves towards decolonization after World War 11, the shooting of gallant ex servicemen who were marching to the Osu Castle to demand their ex-gratia after the war, escalated the agitation for independence.

The 28 February Christianborg Cross Road Shooting in 1948, led to the death of Sergeant Adjeitey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey Lamptey.

The newly formed United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) called for self-government within the shortest possible time.

After violent clashes increased for self government the members of the UGCC were arrested including Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the General Secretary of the party.

Nkrumah later formed the Convention People’s Party, which asked for self government now, setting in motion ‘Positive Action’.

Due to the nationalistic aspirations whipped up by Nkrumah, he was rearrested and imprisoned.

After winning a majority in the Legislative Assembly in 1952, he was released and appointed leader of government business after a number of negotiations with the British, and on the eve of 6 March, 1957 Nkrumah declared Ghana independent at the Old Polo Grounds.

The catch phrase for the day was “Ghana Free forever”.

Ghana adopted Red, Gold and Green with a Black Star as a new Flag. It was designed by Theodosia Salome Okoh.

The red represents the blood that was shed towards independence, the gold stands for the mineral wealth, the green is symbolic of the rich agricultural resources and the black star as the symbol of African emancipation.

Source: GNA

Uhuru Kenyatta has won the presidency. It's done. Let's move on." The son of Kenya's first independence leader may not have secured Francis Odera's vote but, like so many other Kenyans, this middle-aged Nairobi resident is just relieved the election has concluded peacefully.

Now he and others believe it is time to return to work and do what Kenyans do best.

Kenya did not burn, in most places riot police remained idle for much of the day, revellers and those licking their wounds showed restraint and Mr Kenyatta and his challenger Raila Odinga drew praise from many Kenyans for statesmanship in their respective speeches.

Yet, as one Kenyan friend put it, there has been a "revolution in Kenyan's political maturity but not a revolution in the leadership".

Kenyans have pinned their hopes on a new constitution, which dilutes the power of the presidency and offers a degree of devolution. Most agree that it was a vital ingredient that helped to avoid a repetition of the violence of five years ago. Kenyans have a right to be proud.

Millions of Kenyans are excited at the prospect of having the youngest leader ever - Mr Kenyatta is just 51. He is a familiar figure, the son of the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, but as the country celebrates half a century of independence, Kenya now enters a period of uncertainty .

ICC 'inconvenience'

Mr Odinga is challenging what he calls another "tainted election" tinged with "rampant illegality" at the supreme court.

The detailed allegations will emerge over the coming weeks but it is far from clear whether this "evidence" would significantly sway the result. One has to ask how will Odinga supporters react to a defeat at Kenya's top court?

Meanwhile, Mr Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto are bound by a fragile ethnic alliance which some commentators doubt will last.

And both men are facing trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes allegedly committed the last time Kenya went to the polls.

Mr Kenyatta was delivered a solid mandate by the Kenyan people. The constitutional threshold he crossed to avoid a second round run-off was indeed "paper thin" but he still won outright.

The matter of the ICC is viewed as an inconvenience rather than an impediment by most of his supporters, who regard Mr Kenyatta as an innocent man, confident he will clear his name.

He also now wields tremendous power, influence and personal wealth. The unwritten narrative from the victorious Kenyatta camp is "Game On".

The international community's pre-election threats of "consequences" for Mr Kenyatta may well have backfired.

Their position softened in the days leading up to the election but it was no doubt one reason Kenyans supported Mr Kenyatta's Jubilee coalition.

The Kenyan newspapers bear this out in the post-election flurry, with Ahmednasir Abdullahi, a senior lawyer, writing in The Nation that the Kenyatta and Ruto victory "must be seen as a slap in the face of sponsors of ICC cases".

Mr Kenyatta has promised to "honour international obligations" but warned foreigners to "respect the sovereignty" of his country.

Britain, which committed £16m ($24m; 18m euros) to the Kenyan election, is going to have to find an accommodation with the new leadership.

Not only does it rely on co-operation from Kenya to deliver its long-term security agenda but five of the top firms in Kenya are wholly or partly British-owned.

So look out for compromises and a more conciliatory tone. Lawyers are discussing the possibility of giving evidence at The Hague via video link and British businesses will be keen to keep Mr Kenyatta on side.

Price of peace

Which brings us to the issue of peace. Campaigners for justice have coined the phrase "peace coma".

They argue that, blinded by the "haze of peace" which mercifully kept violence off the street, Kenyan voices of dissent risk being hushed for fear of being branded peace traitors.

Jebet, a member of Mr Ruto's Kalenjin community in the Rift Valley, fears that "Kenya has gone back to the Moi era".

President Daniel Arap Moi ruled with an iron fist until the advent of multi-party politics in the early 1990s.

As a Kalenjin, Jebet says: "We have gone back to an irrational system that says, let's take care of our own… and looking after our own has not paid off for the majority of Kenyans."

Jebet, like many other young Kenyans. worries that checks and balances on Kenya's leadership will be muted for the sake of peace.

A prominent commentator from one of Kenya's daily newspapers has spoken of a similar fear: "The peace industry has overwhelmed the media, it has basically become uncritical, losing its oversight role."

These may be premature fears before the president has even been sworn in but they do speak to Kenya's complex contradictions.

On the one hand, Kenya has embarked on a new kind of politics, ushering in a new constitution. The promise of more democratic rights for more people is considered by the majority to have helped deliver a calm and peaceful election.

But it is the same political elite that has secured the levers of power. Many believe the challenge now is for the new leadership to convince Kenyans that they will use that power for the benefit of all, to continue on that democratic path.

A first step would be to reach out to those who did not vote for them.

 

KADUNA—The Sultan of Sokoto and President, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, Dr. Sa’ad Abubakar III, yesterday said that the present security and developmental challenges facing Northern Nigeria was self inflicted by northerners themselves.

The Sultan spoke at the Northern Nigeria Governors Peace and Reconciliation Committee meeting in Kaduna, blaming northerners for inflicting heavy pains on themselves.

His words, “Let us sit and talk freely and articulate positions that will bring us out of the quagmire we put ourselves. It is important that religious and traditional rulers from our various states sit together, so that each and everyone of us will talk freely for us to articulate a position as the way out of this problem we find ourselves.

We northerners have put ourselves in a quagmire, because whatever that is happening in the North is our own doing. This was because we did not do what we are supposed to do. And since we know that, we have to solve our problems ourselves. So, I think, it is not a bad idea that the committee was set up.

Sultan, Onaiyekan sue for peaceful co-existence

“We wrote a memo of about nine pages or thereabout covering various issues affecting the country and the north in particular to the then Acting President and now President. Goodluck Jonathan, through the Nigeria Inter Religious Council, NIREC, where we suggested solutions to the problems.’’

In his own remarks, the Catholic Bishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, attributed the security challenges facing the North and the country in general to high level of poverty in the country and the region in particular.

Onaiyekan further said that another aspect of the problem was associated with religion, saying that, bad image of the country has spread to the outside world and there was need for the stakeholders to address the issue with a view to putting a permanent end to the problems.

Bad governance

He stressed that, Christianity and Islam in Nigeria should not be seen as an accident of history, but God’s design that cannot be changed by anyone.

According to him, the main problem in the country was bad governance and once that is addressed headlong, all other problems would be tackled too.

Kukah hails Sultan, Onaiyekan

The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Mathew Kukah, in his remarks lauded the participation of both Sultan Abubakar and Cardinal Onaiyekan saying, “With the Sultan and our amiable Cardinal as members of this committee, we should have the confidence that all sides will be well represented and every view honestly put down with suggested solutions. We also hope that the government would play its own parts when this assignment is finished.”

By LUKA BINNIYAT -/Vanguard

The Ghana Ambassador to Germany, H.E. Paul King Aryene shall today 6th March 2013 be addressing Ghanaians in Germany on TopAfric Radio. The following community leaders, Dr. Victoria Manu (dentist), Engineer Ohenenana Bonsu, CEO of Ayacsa and Opanin Koo Kusi (linguist) shall be in the studios of TopAfric. Host of the program is Desmond John Beddy a media consultant in Germany. Time: 20.00 -21.00 pm

Among the issues to be looked into are the social, economic and political developments, since Ghana attain its independence some 56 years ago. The leaders shall critically examine their stay in Germany and particularly Hamburg.

KwaZulu-Natal - A Zululand man has survived a black mamba attack, despite only being treated about an hour after being bitten.

A nurse at Hlabisa Hospital said most people died if they did not get treatment within 30 minutes of being bitten.

The nurse, who asked not to be identified because she is not allowed to speak to the media, said Makhundu Thusi was the first person in Mpembeni village to have survived such a bite.

Thusi, 30, said he was aware of at least two others who had died last year. “It is a miracle that I’m still alive.”

He said he was connecting a pipe to a spring water hole on Saturday when the mamba appeared from the bush.

“I was picking up the pipe when the snake appeared and raised its head to the level of my knee. Then it attacked me before it disappeared.”

He tied a rope around the upper part of his bitten leg to minimise the circulation of the poison in his bloodstream, he said.

When he got home his grandmother gave him potassium permanganate (a mild antiseptic) to drink. His neighbours gave him a traditional concoction.

“I think that helped to slow down the poison. But on the way to hospital I became very ill. I was sweating, vomiting and messing up my trousers. My hearing and sight also started fading,” Thusi said.

When he finally got to the hospital an hour after the bite, he was taken to theatre where he was given an injection.

NM MAMBA 1 31171897Hlabisa Hospital spokesman Themba Shange confirmed that it was the first time the hospital had managed to save the life of a victim of a black mamba bite.

“We usually resuscitate the snake victims and refer them to Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni. But they do not make it,” he said.

Herpetologist Martin Rodrigues, a manager at Crocworld Centre in Scottburgh, said it was common for people to survive and make a full recovery after being bitten by a black mamba. He said this depended on the severity of the poison.

The chances of survival had increased because the treatment for venomous snake bites had improved in the past 20 years.

Black

mambas could be found throughout the province, especially in coastal areas. -

The Mercury

There certainly are advantages in being a Ghanaian. Of course, there are challenges as well, but for the moment, I am concentrating on the advantages.

There is an advert in a recent issue of the Spectator magazine, for "a Spectator Events Exclusive" at which "the famous S-G is appearing" and a "renowned writer and broadcaster, will lead the discussion of Mr Annan's new book Interventions, A Life in War and Peace".
I am not sure that I would describe Mr Annan as oozing with charisma as one of the speakers claimed, but I would certainly agree he is cool”

Now I just went to the launch of this book at the University of Ghana and the great man himself was there, the famous former secretary-general in the advert that is, and he told the assembled hall why he wrote the book and he went to great lengths to tell his side of the Rwanda genocide story, probably the biggest catastrophe he presided over.

He took questions from the audience and he signed copies of the book which were offered to us at a huge discount.

I did say there are advantages in being Ghanaian, remember?

Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, is probably the most famous living Ghanaian and the University of Ghana, of which he is chancellor, organised the launch of the book.

The launch did not go the way book launches normally go in these parts.

Nobody auctioned the first copy for an outrageous sum of money and, indeed, somebody suggested during the question and answer session that the book should be made available for free online.

'Goose pimples'
I was not quite sure if this was to be just for us Ghanaians or for the whole world.

It was impressive that all the speakers at the launch managed to find something interesting to say about the book and its well-known author.


Mr Annan was criticised for the UN's failure to stop the Rwandan genocide
I am not sure, though, that I would describe Mr Annan as oozing with charisma as one of the speakers claimed, but I would certainly agree he is cool.

By the way, he is apparently called "Mr Cool" by his colleagues.

I had heard some of the anecdotes that have found their way into the book, but the story about the meeting with the imprisoned Nigerian opposition leader Moshood Abiola still gives me goose pimples.

I am African... I reserve the right to criticise Africa and Africans and I will keep on doing this ”

Kofi Annan
Mr Annan tells the story about being taken to see Chief Abiola in the middle of the night (the description of the journey there alone would justify whatever you pay for the book).

A few minutes into the conversation, as Mr Annan was negotiating the terms of his release, Chief Abiola suddenly asks: "But who are you?"

When he is told he is speaking with Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the UN, he asks: "What happened to the other one? The Egyptian?"

Suddenly you got an insight into the conditions under which Chief Abiola - the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential elections - was detained by Nigeria's then-military regime.

Chief Abiola did not know that Boutros Boutros Ghali was no longer the UN secretary-general.

Then there is the anecdote about the press conference in Gabon with a group of African journalists.

Why, Mr Annan was asked, did he so often criticize Africa and African governments?
Part of his answer to this question is music to my ears and makes me proud to call Mr Annan my compatriot.
I really must borrow this answer whenever I am taken to task for criticising African leaders.

The Spectator magazine called their event - which takes place on 17 January - with Mr Annan the perfect Christmas gift. The tickets cost $32 (£20) plus value added tax.

Well, I just had the perfect gift and I did not pay a penny for it.

There are advantages in being Ghanaian.

If you would like to comment on Elizabeth Ohene's column, please do so below.

BBC

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