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President Paul Biya sends team to Nigeria to learn ways of catching corrupt officials

Reports say President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, sent a five-man delegation to Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency last week to learn how to trace money stolen from the country.

This is not the first time Cameroonian officials had traveled to Nigeria to learn the fight against corruption. After President Olusegun Obasanjo set up the anti-corruption agency in Nigeria in 2003 as he sought to perpetuate himself in office, Biya sent a team to Nigeria to learn the same tricks as voices rose against his long rule, although the official reason for establishing the EFCC was a response to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), which named Nigeria as one of 23 countries non-cooperative in the international community’s efforts to fight money laundering.

Shortly after that visit, what was known as “Operation Epervier” in French or “Eagle Operation” was launched in Cameroon. Many politicians were arrested on corruption allegations, especially those suspected to be vying for Biya’s seat.

In a statement on Wednesday to TheSimonAtebaNews, the acting Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, was quoted as expressing the readiness of the Commission to assist the Cameroonian government in the area of asset tracking and recovery.Magu was speaking on Wednesday when he received a five-man delegation from Cameroon in his office in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

‘‘The Commission will be willing to exchange ideas and experiences with your country in necessary areas as you may desire. I wish to also thank you for your interest in the activities of the Commission,’’ he said.

The leader of the Cameroonian delegation, Aseh Joseph Malegho, said the success story of the Commission had travelled far and wide through different media. According to him, “Your actions are laudable. We commend you and the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, for your efforts in ridding Nigeria of corruption.

‘‘Your anti-graft war has endeared you to us; that is why we have come to identify with your Commission.’’

Malegho also appealed to the EFCC boss to share his experience in the areas of asset tracing, freezing and recovery as well as how the recovered assets were being ploughed back into the country’s economy, EFCC said in a statement.

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