A short video footage, published by British television station, ITV News, shows Mr. Cameron telling the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, that Nigeria and Afghanistan are “two of the most corrupt countries in the world”.
Mr Cameron’s comment was published just as President Muhammadu Buhari departed Nigeria Tuesday to attend an anti-corruption summit organised by the UK government to be held in London on Thursday.
The prime minister was briefing the Queen on the countries expected to attend the summit, during an event at the Buckingham Palace to celebrate the monarch’s 90th birthday, ITV News reported.
Other prominent British officials present when he made the statement include the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Commons Speaker John Bercow.
A transcript of the chat, which was provided by the UK Independent, reads:
John Bercow: The great axis of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House [Chris Grayling].
David Cameron: Well I don’t know about that. We’re on the same side most of the time. We’ve had a very successful cabinet meeting this morning to talk about our anti-corruption summit, we’ve got the Nigerians… actually we’ve got the leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain. Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.
Justin Welby: But this particular president is actually not corrupt.
Queen: Is that right?
Welby: Oh yes, he’s trying very hard this one.
Bercow: They are coming at their own expense, one assumes?
Cameron: I… Yes… Because it’s an anti-corruption summit, everything has to be open. So there are no sort of closed-door sessions, it’s all in front of the press. It could be quite, umm, interesting. But there we go.
A UK government spokesperson told ITV News that Mr. Buhari and Ashraf Ghani, the Afghanistan President are both aware of the scale of corruption in their countries.
“In the essays that both President Buhari and President Ghani contributed to the PM’s Against Corruption book for the summit, both leaders acknowledge the depth of corruption in their countries.
“In his essay, Pres Ghani acknowledges that Afghanistan is ‘one of the most corrupt countries on earth’.
“While President Buhari writes that corruption became a ‘way of life’ in his country under ‘supposedly accountable democratic governments’”.
The UK is one of the most favoured destination by corrupt Nigerian official to hide funds stolen from the country’s treasury.
Below is the link to the footage from ITV News: