Kuramo Conference Wants Stolen Wealth Recovered


The Kuramo Conference 2010, a gathering of eminent scholars, policy makers and  business professionals recently convened by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde  Fashola to promote good governance and new development policies, has called for the  establishment of an international tribunal as part of efforts to recover stolen  wealth stashed away in foreign banks by corrupt public officials.

This recommendation was contained in a 16-point communiqué dubbed, “The Kuramo  Declaration and Agenda” released at the weekend by The Kuramo Foundation, an  offspring of the recently held conference set up to promote advocacy initiatives  around issues deliberated upon at the conference.

Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olasupo Shasore and  the Executive Director, The Kuramo Foundation, Mrs. Olajumoke Oduwole, who announced  this in Lagos, South West Nigeria, said the proposition formed part of the 16-point  declaration and affirmation made at the maiden edition of the two-day conference  held from November 2-3 in Lagos.

Participants at the conference were unanimous in their view that an international  tribunal to handle the recovery of stolen wealth stashed away in foreign banks by  corrupt politicians had become needful.

According to them, “the proposed tribunal which will have representatives of States  and Non-Government Organisations should be established by treaty or multilateral  agreement to deal with corruption and the recovery of stolen wealth.”

They further said in the alternative, the jurisdiction of the International Criminal  Court could be strengthened or an African court with criminal jurisdiction should be  empowered to deal with cases of corruption and the recovery of stolen wealth,  thereby giving legal teeth to international and regional instruments on corruption.

As a new model for tackling endemic looting of public treasury especially in the  developing and under-developed countries, the experts  said, “public prosecutors  should embrace civil recovery methods as a compulsory adjunct to criminal justice  strategy because the option of civil recovery provides additional access to  effective remedies in tracing and recovering stolen wealth from foreign  jurisdictions.”

On the proceeds of crime, the conference participants urged the Nigerian National  Assembly to activate the Proceeds of Crime Bill 2008 before it and pass same into  law without further delay just as it appealed to other African countries with  similar laws to follow suit.

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Delegates also called for an increase in the budgetary allocation for education  being a strategic driver for human development while they urged African leaders to  put in place the necessary mechanism to ensure access to affordable drugs to combat  deadly diseases.

“African countries should negotiate affordable prices for drugs with relevant  international institutions and drug manufacturers,” they said.

Advocating adequate protection for the citizens against harmful practices, the  experts said children in particular should be shielded from exposure to tobacco  smoking and other related habit forming activities, even as they called for the  imposition of fines on manufacturers of such products.

On housing and urban regeneration, the forum said the design of housing policy  schemes aimed at ensuring access to affordable housing and urban regeneration should  involve the contributions of key stakeholders which must include the general public.

The conference therefore proposed that: “Mortgage financing; cooperative housing  schemes and housing associations should be encouraged by governments as an important  strategic option to improve access to affordable housing; increasing housing stock  and unlocking capital.”

The Kuramo Conference 2010 was an international summit attended by over 2,000  delegates, 70 multi-disciplinary experts, resource persons and knowledge vendors  drawn from business, finance, energy and the environment from 25 countries across  four continents.

It is a collaborative effort between a number of leading professionals in various  fields of the private sector and the Lagos State Government, and it was attended by  persons interested in the confluence of policy, advocacy and development as it  impacts the international community at large and the African continent in  particular.

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