Legal Approaches to Supporting Good Governance and Integrity in Africa
Chapter 11: Preventing public officials from enjoying their proceeds of corruption
The case of Diepreye Alamieyeseigha neatly illustrates the potential effectiveness of international cooperation in seeking to deal with corrupt public officials. Alamieyeseigha was the governor of Bayelsa State between 1999 and 2005 and during this time he accumulated a wide range of assets outside of Nigeria derived principally from the theft of public funds and the receipt of bribes for the award of public contracts. In 2005, a joint operation between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria and the Metropolitan Police in London led to the identification of a vast array of assets held by Alamieyeseigha. These included bank accounts in the United Kingdom, Cyprus, and Denmark, four London properties purchased for almost £5 million and a harbour penthouse in Cape Town, South Africa purchased for nearly £1m. Other assets were held by companies and trusts incorporated in (among others) the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands and the Seychelles. In addition, almost £1 million in cash was found by the Metropolitan Police at one of his London properties. A mutual legal assistance request from the EFCC to the UK authorities led to the English High Court making a worldwide criminal restraint order to secure these assets. The cash was returned to Nigeria using forfeiture proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 while Nigeria brought civil proceedings in the English High Court to recover the assets in London, Cyprus and Denmark.
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