9 March 2016

Nigeria: Govt, Switzerland Sign Pact Over Fresh U.S.$321 Million Abacha Loot

Photo: Premium Times
Late Sani Abacha

The Federal Government has welcomed an offer of the Swiss government to return $321m stolen funds from Nigeria under the Abacha government, and is now developing a framework that will aid the repatriation of the funds stashed abroad.

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, made this disclosure yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja during a meeting with a Swiss delegation led by the country's federal councillor and head of its foreign affairs department, Mr Didier Burkhalter and the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Eric Mayoruz.

In a statement issued by his senior special assistant, media, Laolu Akande, he said: "We guarantee that recovered assets would be put to uses for which they have been intended."

Accordingly, the vice president explained that the framework being developed would ensure exactly that.

Prof. Osinbajo said the framework once finalized will be made available publicly and it would cover the whole spectrum from the source of the stolen asset to how it would be managed once recovered.

He said: "the framework will guarantee that returned assets will be used in the interest of the people of this country."

Commending the Swiss government on its assistance in repatriating the country's stolen assets, the vice president said the federal government appreciated the Swiss government for their very laudable efforts.

He noted that the "Swiss has always been at the forefront of returning stolen assets and ensuring that the people of Nigeria gets the benefits."

Later the attorney-general of the federation and justice minister, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, signed an agreement which was described as a "Letter of Intent" between the Swiss government and the Nigerian government on the restitution of illegally-acquired assets forfeited in Switzerland.

Mr. Burkhalter signed the letter for the Swiss government.

Under the agreement, the Swiss government will award to Nigeria $321m of funds illicitly acquired by the Abacha family, initially deposited in Luxembourg and confiscated by the Judiciary of the Republic and Canton of Geneva pursuant to a Forfeiture order dated 11th December 2014.

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