- For saying Nigeria is fantastically corrupt
The Guardian, in its Editorial yesterday, was reacting to Cameron’s comment on Nigeria and Afghanistan as two fantastically corrupt countries. Cameron made the statement during a visit to Queen Elizabeth II to mark her 90th birthday.
The newspaper said though Cameron may not be corrupt, he is “certainly guilty of epic hypocrisy. So, for that matter, are Britain and the West.”
Even then, the editorial was quick to remind readers that the summit was “being hosted by a politician who admitted last month that he has personally profited from offshore finance and whose party is bankrolled by an industry that makes extravagant use of those same tax havens.
“Not only that, he has intervened to aid tax avoiders.”
The newspaper wondered why Cameron failed to mention to the Queen a letter sent him a fortnight ago by anti-corruption campaigners in Nigeria. According to the Guardian, the campaigners said, “We are embarked on a nationwide anti-corruption campaign.
“But these efforts are sadly undermined if countries such as your own are welcoming our corrupt to hide their ill-gotten gains in your luxury homes, department stores, car dealerships, private schools and anywhere else that will accept their cash with no questions asked.
“The role of London’s property market as vessels to conceal stolen wealth has been exposed in court documents, reports, documentaries and more.” The newspaper drew attention to Panama Papers and names of some Nigerians linked to offshore assets, noting that though “none of these individuals may have done anything wrong, but the charge from those campaigners is hard to duck.”
The editorial also queried Cameron, saying, the prime minister “should have told the Queen that President Muhammadu Buhari is coming to London to lobby it to sort out the tax havens in its own backyard.”
It lamented that Britain and the West “have spent decades ordering poor countries and failed states (including Afghanistan) to sort out their problems with doggy money, even while taking much of that doggy money and ploughing it through their banks, their ritzy stores, their estate agents, and their offshore tax havens, with barely any questions asked or eyebrows raised.”
Quoting Oxfam, the editorial said, “a third of all trillions hiding offshore are sitting in tax havens linked to the UK,” explaining that these havens rely on Britain for security and protection.
“The Jersey pound note features the Queen. On the Caymans, they sing as the national anthem God Save the Queen.
Yet Whitehall persists in pretending they are autonomous – even though London has overridden them before, on the abolition of capital punishment, say, or the decriminalizing of homosexual acts. It will not do so on shady finance, however.”