FORMER Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has joined several former world leaders and the heads of other global anti-graft agencies in calling for the establishment of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC).
Mallam Ribadu, the pioneer EFCC boss, who helped create the agency, was among the over 100 world figures, including former heads of states and governments, who made the recent call. international non-governmental organisation, the Integrity Initiative International (III), pulled the signatories together from over 40 countries, getting them to sign a declaration for the establishment of the IAAC to tackle high-level corruption in governments.
In their declaration, the signatories added that grand corruption continues to flourish despite the existing laws that are in place to check it, noting that the menace thrives not due to insufficient laws. The group, which says it is dedicated to promoting human rights, human health and international peace and security, noted that kleptocrats corruptly enrich themselves from the trillions of dollars being spent to promote global public health and counter climate change.
“We know that grand corruption, the abuse of public office for private gain by a nation’s leaders (kleptocrats), thrives in many countries and has devastating consequences. The 187 countries that are party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption each have laws criminalising corrupt conduct. Yet kleptocrats enjoy impunity because they control the administration of justice in the countries that they rule.
“Kleptocrats are robbing their countries of funds needed to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Grand corruption undermines democracy as kleptocrats use their power to suppress the media and civil society and subvert honest elections,” the group said.
It is also of the view that because grand corruption has global consequences and often cannot be combated by the countries’ most immediately victimised. According to the group, the IAAC should have jurisdiction to prosecute violations of existing domestic anti-corruption laws if the country the kleptocrat rules is unwilling or unable to prosecute a case itself.
In addition, it said the court should also have the authority to prosecute crimes committed by nationals of member states and by nationals of other states who commit crimes in the territory of a member state. The group added that the court should have the authority to recover, repatriate, and repurpose illicit assets for the victims of grand corruption in civil as well as criminal cases.
Some former heads of state and government who signed the declaration alongside Mr Ribadu are Carl Bildt, former Swedish prime minister; Moncef Marzouki, the former president of Tunisia; Rosen Plevneliev, the former President of Bulgaria and Juan Manuel Santos, the former president of Colombia and Nobel Laureate. Others include Haris Silajdžić, former prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Danilo Türk, the former president of Slovenia.