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Nigerian cardinal suggests amnesty for corrupt officials-- if they return funds

January 04, 2016

Cardinal John Onaiyeken of Abuja, Nigeria has suggested that the country’s government should pardon officials who have been convicted on corruption charges, if they are willing to return their ill-gotten gains.

Cardinal Onaiyeken offered his proposal in his New Year’s message. He said that the government’s drive against corruption would be more likely to succeed—and more likely to restore funds to the public—if officials could voluntarily return money gained by graft and fraud. “One way to convince people to go and bring back such money is to convince them that you will not disgrace them, after they have done that,” the cardinal said.

Cardinal Onaiyeken said that the Nigerian government will need a “systemic change” to uproot a culture of pervasive corruption. He expressed his dissatisfaction with plea-bargaining arrangements that could allow officials to return only a fraction of what they have stolen.


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