An interesting event has come to our attention that we’d like to share, taking place at Chatham House in London. Full event details here.
Recovering Africa’s Stolen Assets: Lessons from the Windward Trading Case
A report by the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery programme found that, while nearly $1.4 billion in suspected corrupt assets were frozen in OECD countries between 2010 and 2012, less than $150 million was returned. Recovering stolen assets is of particular importance for sub-Saharan African countries, given the extent of the looting of public funds carried out by corrupt leaders and officials.
Prosecuting international corruption and recovering stolen assets has proved difficult and time-consuming. Both states from which assets have been stolen, and those where these assets are laundered or stored, have struggled to produce results.
This is well worth watching: journalist and author of Author of ‘Fragile Empire‘ and ‘This Is London‘ and Ben Judah presents his report at the Hudson Institute on how kleptocrats and what he calls the ‘global wealth defence industry’ (or the secrecy and tax avoidance/evasion industry) is wreaking havoc on the global economy and represents a serious threat to international peace and security. He draws on our research on quantifying offshore funds and our Financial Secrecy Index.
From the 2016 budget speech in South Africa, from Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan:
“We will continue to act aggressively against the evasion of tax through transfer pricing abuses, misuse of tax treaties and illegal money flows. Drawing on the work of the OECD, the G20 joint project on base erosion and profit shifting and independent bodies such as the Tax Justice Network, further measures will be taken to address such revenue losses, including inappropriate use of hybrid debt instruments.”
A bit self-congratulatory of us to put this here, but hey. We’d add, however, a couple of things.
Our research director, Alex Cobham, has written an article for the European Centre for Development Policy Management tracing the linkages between illicit flows and security, and the basis for this important target – along with a few additional suggestions for indicators, to ensure its effectiveness.
We’ve just received a copy of the final Communiqué of the 6th Citizen’s Continental Conference which took place in late January in Addis Ababa. This year the conference, which precedes the African Union Summit, had human rights as its core focus, with a particular focus on the rights of women.