Monday, March 31, 2003

African countries have police forces and judiciary systems but in many cases the police are themselves highway robbers and the judges crooks. According to The Post Express, based in Lagos, Nigeria, former Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha ‘is believed to have siphoned more than $8 billion of Nigeria’s foreign exchange into fictitious accounts in European, Asian, American, Caribbean and Arab countries.' When Olusegun Obasanjo was elected as Nigeria’s president in 1999, he launched a highly public campaign against corruption and vowed to recover the loot stashed abroad by Abacha. By March 2000, government officials had declared that $709 million and another £144 million had been recovered from the Abachas and other top officials from Abacha’s regime. But this recovered loot was itself quickly re-looted. When the Senate Public Accounts Committee looked more closely, it found only $6.8 million and £2.8 million in the Central Bank of Nigeria. Said Uti Akpan, a textiles trader in Lagos commented, ‘What baffles me is that even the money recovered from Abacha has been stolen. If you recover money from a thief and you go back and steal the money, it means you are worse than the thief.’

George B. N. Ayittey, “Why Africa is Poor,” in Sustainable Development: Promoting Progress or Perpetuating Poverty?, edited by Julian Morris (62)

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