September 28, 2022
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UK an ‘enabler’ of corruption, Nigerian anti-sleaze tsar tells Boris Johnson in stinging rebuke – The Independent

  • December 2, 2021
  • 4 min read
UK an ‘enabler’ of corruption, Nigerian anti-sleaze tsar tells Boris Johnson in stinging rebuke – The Independent

‘Global elite loot their countries and rush to London’, prime minister told – as broken promise attacked
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The UK is an “enabler” of corruption, an adviser to the Nigerian president says, in a sharp rebuke to Boris Johnson’s rejection of widespread sleaze.
The prime minister hit back at warnings that the UK is sliding into dishonest practices – following the Owen Paterson and Geoffrey Cox controversies – by declaring: “The UK is not remotely a corrupt country.”
But the claim has been ridiculed by Nigeria’s anti-corruption tsar, who pointed to a broken promise to crack down on the super-rich buying homes through secret offshore companies.
Prof Sadiq Isah Radda branded London “the most notorious safe haven for looted funds in the world today” – and warned of the impact on his own country and continent.
“There are no thieves without receivers. Without safe havens for looted funds, Nigeria and Africa will not be this corrupt,” he told the investigative website Finance Uncovered.
In 2016, David Cameron’s government promised transparency legislation to unmask the true owners of UK properties bought using offshore companies.
The Registration of Overseas Entities Bill would have required the beneficial owner of a property-owning offshore company to be registered with Companies House, the UK’s business registry.
It was hailed by the government as a “major step forward in tackling dirty money and safeguarding the reputation of the UK’s business environment” – but has yet to be passed.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson rejected calls for action made in the 2018 Russia report, in which the Commons intelligence committee warned of London becoming a “laundromat” for illicit Russian cash.
The government has also been criticised for setting up a network of freeports, despite criticism that they will open the door to corruption – the reason why the EU is outlawing them.
Last week, the chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Jonathan Evans, warned of the sleaze rows: “We could slip into being a corrupt country.”
In the interview, Prof Radda challenged Johnson to deliver on the stalled anti-corruption law, telling him to “do better by matching words with concrete actions”.
“UK law allows the global elite to loot their countries and rush to London. No wonder London swims in other people’s blood and sweat,” he warned.
“As a country and as a people, corruption has done monumental damage to us and we have to bring a stop to it. Safe havens, such as London, as well as their governments, have to support and help Nigeria. The muted response by British politicians suggests complicity.
“The practice under UK law where anyone buying a house or apartment can hide their identity from public records that are submitted to the Land Registry, if they purchase the property through a company registered in an offshore secrecy haven, is very disappointing, disturbing and contradictory.”
In his comments, at the Cop26 climate summit, Mr Johnson argued: “I genuinely believe that the UK is not remotely a corrupt country, nor do I believe that our institutions are corrupt.
“We have a very, very tough system of parliamentary democracy and scrutiny, not least by the media.”
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