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FG receives $723m Abacha loot from Swiss govt

To get another $321m soon 

THE Federal Government has received $723 million Abacha loot from the government of Switzerland in the last 10 years.

This is contained in the agreement signed on March 8, 2016 in Abuja by representatives of the Swiss Federal Council and the Federal Government, according to agency report.

The report said the amount excludes $321million (about N63.24 billion) which the Swiss authorities recently said it was planning to repatriate to Nigeria.

The stolen funds were ceased from the family of the  late former head of state, Sani Abacha. The agreement, titled “Letter of Intent on the restitution of illegally-acquired assets forfeited in Switzerland,” was signed by Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the Swiss Head of Foreign Affairs Department, Didier Burkhalter.

$321 million acquired illicitly by the Abacha family, was initially deposited in Luxemburg before being confiscated by the Swiss Republic Judiciary and Canton of Geneva following a December 11, 2014 forfeiture order, the report said.

The agreement states that the funds to be returned to Nigeria would contribute to the implementation of social programmes for the benefit of the Nigerian people in “an efficient and accountable way, guaranteed by a monitoring by World Bank”.

Acknowledging the cooperation of Switzerland and Nigeria as an excellent opportunity to fight against corruption at domestic and international levels, the signatories to the agreement recalled the long partnership by their two countries in asset recovery based the principles of national interest, trust and mutual respect.

The two countries pledged to maintain regular exchanges and constructive engagements towards the conclusion of the  processes necessary for the final return of the looted funds to Nigeria, adding that the letter of intent, which does not impose any legally binding obligation, would continue to provide the basis for their cooperation.

“The implementation of the present letter of Intent between the Signatories (Swiss and Nigerian governments) is guided by the principle of ethics, mutual respect and cooperation,” the agreement stated.

They also agreed to ensure that the deployment of the funds was monitored by the World Bank in line with separate forfeiture orders issued by the Swiss Public Prosecutor and the Canton of Geneva on December 11, 2014.

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