13th December, 2010
The Kuramo Conference 2010, a gathering of eminent scholars, policy makers andÂ business professionals recently convened by the Lagos State Governor, BabatundeÂ Fashola to promote good governance and new development policies, has called for theÂ establishment of an international tribunal as part of efforts to recover stolenÂ wealth stashed away in foreign banks by corrupt public officials.
This recommendation was contained in a 16-point communiquÃ© dubbed, â€œThe KuramoÂ Declaration and Agendaâ€ released at the weekend by The Kuramo Foundation, anÂ offspring of the recently held conference set up to promote advocacy initiativesÂ around issues deliberated upon at the conference.
Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olasupo Shasore andÂ the Executive Director, The Kuramo Foundation, Mrs. Olajumoke Oduwole, who announcedÂ this in Lagos, South West Nigeria, said the proposition formed part of the 16-pointÂ declaration and affirmation made at the maiden edition of the two-day conferenceÂ held from November 2-3 in Lagos.
Participants at the conference were unanimous in their view that an internationalÂ tribunal to handle the recovery of stolen wealth stashed away in foreign banks byÂ corrupt politicians had become needful.
According to them, â€œthe proposed tribunal which will have representatives of StatesÂ and Non-Government Organisations should be established by treaty or multilateralÂ agreement to deal with corruption and the recovery of stolen wealth.â€
They further said in the alternative, the jurisdiction of the International CriminalÂ Court could be strengthened or an African court with criminal jurisdiction should beÂ empowered to deal with cases of corruption and the recovery of stolen wealth,Â thereby giving legal teeth to international and regional instruments on corruption.
As a new model for tackling endemic looting of public treasury especially in theÂ developing and under-developed countries, the expertsÂ said, â€œpublic prosecutorsÂ should embrace civil recovery methods as a compulsory adjunct to criminal justiceÂ strategy because the option of civil recovery provides additional access toÂ effective remedies in tracing and recovering stolen wealth from foreignÂ jurisdictions.â€
On the proceeds of crime, the conference participants urged the Nigerian NationalÂ Assembly to activate the Proceeds of Crime Bill 2008 before it and pass same intoÂ law without further delay just as it appealed to other African countries withÂ similar laws to follow suit.
Delegates also called for an increase in the budgetary allocation for educationÂ being a strategic driver for human development while they urged African leaders toÂ put in place the necessary mechanism to ensure access to affordable drugs to combatÂ deadly diseases.
â€œAfrican countries should negotiate affordable prices for drugs with relevantÂ international institutions and drug manufacturers,â€ they said.
Advocating adequate protection for the citizens against harmful practices, theÂ experts said children in particular should be shielded from exposure to tobaccoÂ smoking and other related habit forming activities, even as they called for theÂ imposition of fines on manufacturers of such products.
On housing and urban regeneration, the forum said the design of housing policyÂ schemes aimed at ensuring access to affordable housing and urban regeneration shouldÂ involve the contributions of key stakeholders which must include the general public.
The conference therefore proposed that: â€œMortgage financing; cooperative housingÂ schemes and housing associations should be encouraged by governments as an importantÂ strategic option to improve access to affordable housing; increasing housing stockÂ and unlocking capital.â€
The Kuramo Conference 2010 was an international summit attended by over 2,000Â delegates, 70 multi-disciplinary experts, resource persons and knowledge vendorsÂ drawn from business, finance, energy and the environment from 25 countries acrossÂ four continents.
It is a collaborative effort between a number of leading professionals in variousÂ fields of the private sector and the Lagos State Government, and it was attended byÂ persons interested in the confluence of policy, advocacy and development as itÂ impacts the international community at large and the African continent inÂ particular.