On February 3, 2019, 37-year-old former mayor of San Salvador Nayib Bukele – the charismatic, anti-establishment, fringe-party candidate – won 53 percent of the vote in El Salvador’s presidential election. He takes office in June. The challenge confronting Bukele is stark, especially when it comes to the rule of law. But there are concrete things the international community can do to help the new president and his citizens.

Transparency in the extractives sector is widely seen as a key tool for improving accountability and deterring corruption. Yet for those very reasons, it is a puzzle that so many governments in corruption-prone countries have voluntarily signed up to greater scrutiny in this area, by joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

This paper looks at the use of proceeds of asset recovered from Sani Abacha, Vladimir Montesinos, and Ferdinand Marcos and their families. It will also briefly address a much more recent case involving Kazakhstan.

Repatriation of stolen monies makes available additional resources for development activities. The challenge is to ensure efficient, accountable and transparent use of such assets, given states may lack capacity or political will and that corruption may be prevalent at various levels of government.