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Switzerland returns $700m Abacha’s loot to FG

From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja

Switzerland is set to expose public officers who stashed away looted funds in the country’s banks, just as it announced yesterday that the country new laws did not allow anonymous bank accounts in Swiss banks. The Swiss Government also announced that $700 million, out of the reported $1 billion loot stashed in the country’s banks belonging to the late head of state, General Sani Abacha had been returned to the Federal Government. Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Hans-Rudolf Hodel, said this at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday.

He spoke against the backdrop of a proposed seminar on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism, which would hold in Abuja between December 11 and 13. The seminar was a collaborative effort between the Swiss Government and the Federal Government. His words: Switzerland is working closely with other countries to combat organised crime and terrorism. It employs internationally binding sanctions, in particular sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

“Let me quickly touch upon a few key words: Swiss banking secrecy protects the privacy of bank clients, but it is not unlimited. If there are suspicions of criminal activities such as terrorism, organised crime, money laundering or tax fraud, it is lifted-and the authorities are given access to banking information. Banking secrecy is not a Swiss peculiarity; it exists in many other countries. “No anonymous accounts exist in Switzerland.

The bank is obliged to know the identity of the account holder and of the actual financial beneficiary. Highly developed financial centres run the risk of being used to launder money and to finance terrorism. “The Swiss Act on the Restitution of Illicit Asset is an innovative tool that may speed up Asset Recovery proceedings in certain cases.

The law is the result of difficulties encountered by the Swiss authorities in returning asset with insufficient structures. “To resolve cases of illicit assets of politically exposed persons (PEPs) deposited in Switzerland, the law comprises the three instruments of freezing, confiscation and restitution in situations where the state of origin of the assets in question is unable to conduct a criminal procedure that meets the requirements of Swiss law on international mutual legal assistance. “The law foresees a reversal of the burden of proof.

In the confiscation proceedings, the account holders have to prove the origin of the funds. Failing to do so, illegality of the assets is assumed. “Money laundering was recognised as an offence in the Swiss Criminal Code since 1990. On February 1, 2009, various improvements in Switzerland’s anti-money laundering arsenal entered into force, enabling Switzerland to stay abreast of the more sophisticated international standards.

“Switzerland has a fundamental interest in ensuring that assets of criminal origin are not invested in the Swiss financial centre. Swiss laws and procedures to combat money laundering, corruption and the financing of terrorism are effective means of keeping out illicit funds of politically exposed persons (PEPs).” On the returned Abacha loot, the Ambassador said: “Together with the states concerned. Switzerland seeks ways of returning assets to their rightful owners.

In the last 15 years, Switzerland has returned over $1.7 billon to their countries of origin. “Examples include the Abacha case in Nigeria. $700 million blocked in Swiss bank accounts have been returned to Nigeria.” The seminar in Abuja was a follow-up to the one which held in Dakar, Senegal last year and it would expectedly focus more on cross-cutting aspects of money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

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53 Comments

  1. humphrey December 5, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Thanks Y/E, Dr. Hans-Rudolf Hodel, for this long awaited information by Nigerians. However, tell your government that we also want to know howmuch other former Nigerian Heads of State, governors and their aids (that are living) stacked in your banks and when the monies will be returned.
    Pls. avail Nigerians this information before we go to the polls in 2015, to enable us sort the “weeds” from the “planted”. God bless your country.

  2. Ken December 5, 2012 at 2:00 am

    God is time is the best and now is the right time for God to expose those evil men in Nigeria and bring peace and smile in the face of his children

  3. Sir nwabufo okoye ksji December 5, 2012 at 2:26 am

    GEN SANI ABACHA, number one boko haram. A lesson 2 others. IBB HOPE U AR WATCHING?

  4. Pa Ukay December 5, 2012 at 2:31 am

    So after how many years. Has anyone care to ask them for interest?

  5. Nwa-Chelsea December 5, 2012 at 3:15 am

    I wish the Swiss Govt could invest this money directly in Nigeria, other wise…..this is a Christmas bonus for our unsatisfied , wicked and evil people, who call themselves leaders.

  6. Luke A. December 5, 2012 at 3:23 am

    Thank God! But is that all?

  7. Dele Odugbemi December 5, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Abacha Loots?, What about IBB, Abdusalam, Obasanjo, Atiku, and others LOOTS? Is Switzerland going to return their loots after they die too? Nigeria has produced bigger THIEVES in both states and federal levels than Abacha from 1999 till date, so we need to know the names of those who still keep stolen Naija money in the Swiss, Dubai, UK, EU, Panama, South Africa, USA Banks and other banking free zones around the world.

  8. Ahiara John December 5, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Is it not better we share the money? I am of the opinion that the money should be changed into naira after which we share it equal to every Nigeria.

    • Chidimma December 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      @ Ahiara john you have become a millionaire, if this money were to be divided to each Nigerian, each person would end up with 500million naira

      • Prince December 5, 2012 at 11:47 pm

        @ Chidimma. I had to work the Mathematics. Do you know that you are unbelievably correct?

  9. Imam Nurudeen Sulayman, MSW December 5, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Switzerland is also culpable as General Sanni Abacha, the international rogue. Who says they do not talk bad about the dead after their demise? Especially when the dead is a wicked human being. Why did they take the money in the first place? Don’t they know that Abacha stole the money from the Nigerian people? We still have so many billion of dollars staked away all over the world when Nigerian are dying of malnutrition, unavailable of drugs in our hospitals, bad roads, non availability of drinkable water and so on and so forth. I think we should start to show our leaders through the votes that we know who are the rogues and who meant good for the citizens. Vote right and fight for your votes to count. 2015 is around the corner.

  10. Chief Akpaniko December 5, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Those that hide terrorist are terrorist themselves. Those who keep stolen property are equal partner in crime. Swiss govt that kept the stolen money for years and Abacha, what the difference? If it were Swiss money stolen to Africa, Swiss govt and NATO would have formed alliance to bomb Africa. Swiss embassy should tell their leaders they are equal thieves as Abacha

  11. Ibn Ibrahim December 5, 2012 at 5:09 am

    What do u expect 4rm self-serving leaders who sees political appointment not as a means to an end but as an end-itself,hence,massive looting of govt funds.d lastday is around d corner,haven help those who help themselves.

  12. Igba . P. December 5, 2012 at 5:09 am

    The money is going to be recycle. Jonathan Badluck and his weak government will steal the same money back to foreign countries, where the money will be used to build factories thus creating jobs for the unemployed. Sorry for Africa.

  13. ike okija December 5, 2012 at 5:18 am

    refounding of abachas money is of no use to nigerians because our wicked leaders will share the money on there own.i strongly believe that this money can atleast build a new refinary in this country or can solve the problem of electricity for ones,our govt its high time you people do something tangible for this country or we enbark on revolution.i advise that the swiss govt will pay the money diretcly to a company than can build an energy plant, because steady power is our major problem in nigeria,its the main cause of unemployment to the youths,if there is steady power then cctv camera can be able to work and dictate the activities of boko haram ad armed robbers,and it will also xpose there dirty business on how they take bribe and so on.we are going nowhere without steady power supply. Our govt want us to be blind for life.

  14. Killimanjaro/London December 5, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Abacha’s loot is a child play compare to Tinubu, when he was in and out of Government

  15. Nwaokoma December 5, 2012 at 5:30 am

    We are not talkn of looted money,we are concerned with d security challenges that has bedeviled d country,not money dat waz looted by Abacha.After all dis is not d first time we are hearing of lootn of Government fund,what of ppl dat looted d country’s money bf him and afta him?Make una spare us dat,,,D government of d day is busy chasing

    shadows,insecurity,unemployment,corruptn etc roaring its ugly head…God wll judge all of u,dat has kept dis country in dis poor state!!!

  16. Yomi.Braimoh-Igbo December 5, 2012 at 5:50 am

    We alway talk of Abacha stole maney,what about the rest
    i.e OBJ,IBB,Chief Bode,Fani-kayode,Tinubu,and so on.
    from Ibos,side,Ijaw`s,Hausa ex governor, militry junta,we want them all to tell nigeria,how they made there money

  17. amo December 5, 2012 at 5:55 am

    imagine the northern idiot who killed the true son of the soil who was protesting injustice. a notherner who dos nt ve a drop of oil, controling an oil empire. stupid muslim . am of the opinion that d govt compsate d niger deltans origin and the family of ken saro wiwa whom dis northern bastard wasted. i hate the hausa with passion. on this note, this counrty must divide. enuf of dis parasitic northerners

  18. Alibaba December 5, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Abdil-salam,gowon,ibb,obasanjo&badluck ebele after yur death swiss will do the same to yur savings. Bt swiss for ths long do yu mean thre is no interest. untill the day nemesis come our away i hav lost hop in nigerian gov.

  19. prince December 5, 2012 at 7:10 am

    i wish nigerian leaders are reading all this comments here and understand how the citizings feel , president jomathan why dont you prove a diferent , listing you and ur ppl should stop looting bcos is just a waist as you can see the coming of our lord jesus is arround the corner,

  20. fitex December 5, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Shame to all of them that have been defending abacha that he never stole any money.shame on u all.we know u pple.liers & sychophants.as for d returned money,it will not have any impact on d citizens of nigeria bcos we still have insensitive leaders who know how to loot more than abacha.God has a way of handling wicked pple & their families.let’s be prayerful.

  21. Chukwudi December 5, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Become a member of Netcontacts today and be paid N1500 for each person u invite to register as online member, Netcontacts business is all over the country, i advice u to embrace it and make tremendous benefits, i give u my word u can make, you just pay N1500 4ur membership activation, and start inviting unlimited persons, the more people u invite, ur chances of makin money register now at http://www.netcontacts.com.ng/invitation/?invitationcode=329899355

  22. John Kalu December 5, 2012 at 7:34 am

    IBB and former governors should be treated same

  23. Nora Saro December 5, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I am just kneeling down praying so bitterly for down fall of this country name Nigeria with her evil attitudes.
    LET Nigeria collapse in the Mighty name of Jesus, Amen. Let the oil dry and empty Nigeria Purse AMEN. LET the name Nigeria be swiped away in JESUS name, AMEN.

  24. Bennie December 5, 2012 at 7:56 am

    You said you’re Pa Ukay, Why not thank God that such information has been given and part of the fund returned but you are there asking for the interest. Why not go to Switz bank and collect it?

  25. ANABA December 5, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I HV DISCOVERED THAT THE PROBLEM OF NIGERIA LIES ON HER LEADERS. OUR SO CALLED LEADERS ARE HIGHLY CORRUPT AND DON’T HV ANY GOOD INTENTION FOR THE POOR MASSES. ALL THAT MATTER TO THEM IS HW THEY COULD LOOT THE TREASURY. THEY CAN DO ANYTHING TO GET TO THE CORRIDOR’S OF POWER JUST WITH THE INTENTION OF LOOTING THE COUNTRY’S TREASURY. OUR LEADERS AND ALL THAT ARE ASPIRING TO BE LEADERS TOMORROW NEED REORIENTATION. WE SHOULD BE THINKING ON WHAT WE SHOULD DO FOR THE BETTERMENT OF OUR COUNTRY AND NOT WHAT WE GAIN FROM IT. THE ISSUE OF TRYING TO GET THE NATIONAL CAKE BY ALL MEANS SHOULD STOP. THIS NATIONAL CAKE HAS MADE MANY NIGERIANS LAZY AND UNPRODUCTIVE.

  26. NOJ December 5, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Here r ma submisionz:
    a. Of wat use is d returned loots of abacha 2 d comon man in d street?
    b. R our curent leaders not doing d same(loot our comon wealth)?
    c. Wat abt d loots of oda past leaders(dead n alive)?
    d. B4 nigerians rejoiz ova dis info,ask wat d partialy subsidized fuel done 4 d generality of nigerianz,wher r d savingz 4rm d subsidy? Wher r promizd jobs n utopia life govt said nigerianz wud hav?
    e. I can go on n on but …

  27. NOJ December 5, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Oh yes! Here r ma submisionz:
    a. Of wat use is d returned loots of abacha 2 d comon man in d street?
    b. R our curent leaders not doing d same(loot our comon wealth)?
    c. Wat abt d loots of oda past leaders(dead n alive)?
    d. B4 nigerians rejoiz ova dis info,ask wat d partialy subsidized fuel done 4 d generality of nigerianz,wher r d savingz 4rm d subsidy? Wher r promizd jobs n utopia life govt said nigerianz wud hav?
    e. I can go on n on but …

  28. Grace Bern December 5, 2012 at 10:07 am

    The government at the centre should try to explain how this money should be expended. It should not be left in the hands of these wicked woman and the wicked CBN governor to supervise.

  29. The insider December 5, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Why did they reduce the money to $700m?,it was $2.5bn.But the white men should not worry themselves sending the money to Nigeria because the money will come back to their country in less than three months.

  30. Patrick December 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Why? Why? Why?

    The Nigerian Government would steal the money again. Oh nooooo

    Why didn’t the Swis authorities not keep the money for us until some sane government comes in.

    This gang of thieves would steal this money.

    Thief thief thief.

  31. El Nino December 5, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Perhaps it would have been better if the money were to stay where it was and on whoever placed it there´s name. Dr. Ambassador, Swiss government, the money NEVER got to Nigeria. Just as you released it so also it found its way to the UK and America into another gang of organized criminals called Nigeria politicians accounts. These two countries always take, never ask questions nor blow any whistle on you so long as you behave. Even the late Osama bin Laden would have been welcomed if he had decided to stash away some of Al Qaeda´s money there too.
    There is nothing on the ground anywhere in Nigeria to show for the $700million, NOTHING!

    Well i thought you would like to know.

  32. Emeka Anyanwu December 5, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Mr Ambassador, what happened to the remaining $300M? And the interest on $1B for over 12 years which even at 5% pa is at least $500M! Please we are blacks but not daft! Kindly return the FULL amount due to us, Ambassador stolen good receiver!!!

  33. Ucblack December 5, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Pls am not happy over this returned money, becouse they will shere it one after anothere. Pls i beg in the name of God use it to build our road.

  34. wagod December 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

    David Mark is another big thief in Govt.
    All these big rats can onlt be readicated by given them rat poison.

  35. Nico Amsterdam December 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Thank God anyway. The issued of our Nigeria leaders is worst in the world This $700 million, mentioned were is it going to be spend.? or are they going to share it among them self,Even each Nigerians is given 1 million Naira only is still going to remain,For the Swiss bank were the interest rate were is it, anyway a am in Europe for years i now what the white people can do to Africa ,white people are the devil we see in the midday time they are wicked ,too greedy the can take anything from Africa since our year of slavery their never tired our cold, diamond, all the menirals resources is taking away our leaders are running after them when is Nigeria going to wake up from sleep since 1999 the evil leaders are control the star of God But God pass them here i end

  36. Temi December 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    stolen money still going down the pocket of thieves Gos is watching.

  37. yusuff December 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    First, Nora Saro, we should pray for our beloved country and course our so-called leaders. Second, Swiss also committed cooperate crime with people like late Abacha. My prayer is to have very strong group with good focus, objectives, and aims. The group that will attack our leaders mercilessly including their children, wives, Mistress, relative, and friends. Rather than killing innocent people. Its rather better for group like Boko Haram to rescue Nigerians from bad leaders rather than killing innocent victims. If they can join hands together with Odua and Ijaw millitants and wage war against our devil leaders, things will come to normal. These useless leaders are not ready to transform Nigeria at all but to drink our resources and extend it to their bastard children. Yes! bastard children, some of them have no time for their wives, due to their unguided meeting at all time. Their drivers and gate man are taking care of their wives. Find out by yourself. When are we going to enjoy our resources? Does this incumbent government able and viable to transform Nigeria? Do will need bloodless revolution? Shall we fold our hands and washing these useless things calling themselves our leaders. Shall we implement ecclesiastical punishment. Such like Biblical punishment for Christians criminals, Shariah for Muslims criminal, and Traditional punishment for Traditionalist leaders. We should fight our leaders? Who will lead? Who is ready to die and sacrifice for unborn generation because our generation has gone since. Are you ready? Access your mind.

    • son of God December 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      yusuff i pray that what you are asking for you are been sincere witthin yourself becase most Nigerian are betrayers, the future of Nigerian lied in the handds of Nigerians,

  38. Usman December 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Thank God, it will fercilitate the N2bn building project of Namadi Sambo’s house and increase the number of private Jet in Nigeria. What a success, our economy is growing.

  39. fortunatus December 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Well We thank Swiss for atleast remembering us and bringing back what rightfully belongs to us. Now that we had $700m USD what are we going to do with it? Ngozi Okonji Iwuala should follow up this matter. We are handing this over to her. She should help us to see that this money will be used wisely and not to go to the purse of this criminals. We are watching and will continue to ask about this money until we finally know where the money go to.

  40. Plain Truth December 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    That looted funds be channelled to Bill Gate who mean well for Nigeria if for nothing, but for using his personal funds for guinea worm eradication and still using more for polio eradication. By so doing, the money will b judiciously used. If this approach won’t be adopted, d swiss govt. Should make use of instead of our political criminals to use it.

  41. Atoz December 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    D $700m recover 4rm Gen Abacha if change to naira we wil hav 700,000,000 m$ multiply by 150# = 105,000,000,000billion# and in Nigeria we hav about 170million pples so if u divid dis money amoung Nigerians u wil get
    105,000,000,000
    / 170,000,000
    = 617,647,058.82 dat is six hundred& seventeen million,six hundred& fourty seven thousand,fifty eight naira,eighty two kobo. for each Nigerian citizen.we ar not talkin about IBB’S,ABDULSALAMI’S,OBJ’S ETC& all d militry govnors lut.

  42. Sergicus December 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    @Atoz,please collect my own share for me.Ouch!

  43. Comr . A. Izuogu December 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Haahaaahaaaaaaaaaaaa. Am happy. I per fervidly concur wit u,mr ambassador for bein sincere,bt i fervently concur to disconcur wit u bcos dis is a crime without punishment bt wit bias. Most looters who carouse in Swiss wit our cash are alive nd may stil live 2 loot d returned money. Arrest them first if u are sincere nd if dea is no conspiracy somewhere. Ibori ws jailed nt bcos they fought crime bt even wen we knew he comitted crime bt simply bcos he ws nt in d good book of d REAL SPELLINGS OF LOOT. Many are stil dea in Swiss,developin Swiss nd u allow dem. Frnds should stop tnkin u bcos your effort is conspiratorial. U are indeed bias.

  44. Chief Ben December 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I don’t like to read or discuss this because is of no use to a common Nigerian. The returned money is as good as not being returned. God help us.

  45. Alexco December 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    It is not about returning the money, where is it now and what plans do the government have with regards to spending or saving it? The most important thing is that it should be spent on infrastructures that are visible in the eyes of the common man. I plead that it should be used to build a city that will offer free houses, free education, free lunch and dinner to the teeming number of destitutes that are amongst us.

  46. ike okija December 5, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    nigeriaaaa na waaaoooooooo i prefer to share the money individually simple and short

  47. omoigui osarobo December 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    The money has only been given to a worse robber to put in his pocket and use in enslaving Nigerians by rigging next elections.

    • Joel Nwosu December 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      I will regard myself as an intelligent man. Why? You spoke my mind.

  48. NWANKWO HYGINUS December 6, 2012 at 12:50 am

    MY FELLOW COUNTRY MEN!, IS NO LONGER A NEW ISSUE.BUT WHAT OF THE ONES RECOVERED FROM HIM SINCE BEFORE THIS ONE? WHO HAS BEEN ON THE POSSESSIONS? A BIG MISTAKE IF IBB OWN HAS NOT BEEN RECOVERED

  49. NWANKWO HYGINUS December 6, 2012 at 1:04 am

    DURING LATE YARADUA REGIME, WE HEARD ABOUT RECOVERED FUNDS BUT THE WHEREABOUTS IS STILL A FIERY TALE .OBJ MADE SOME RECOVERY AS WELL WHO CAN TELL THE THE PERSON IN POSSESSION? OH! MY GOOD GOD, IMAGINE HOW A SINGLE PERSON WILL
    JUST DEFRAUD A WHOLE NATION AND GO SCOOT-FREE.HUGE AMOUNT THAT IS MORE THAN A COUNTRY’S BUDGET.THOSE CAN NEVER LEAVE TO ENJOY THOSE ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH.AND THEIR GENERATIONS CAN NEVER LEAVE TO ENJOY IT. WATCH OUT THE INFLUX OF DESTITUTE / BEGGARS ON OUR MIST. TODAY. SOMEONE WILL BE IN NEED OF A TOKEN AMOUNT FOR A MEDICAL TREATMENT IN ABROAD AND NOBODY CARES.WHAT A CURSE UPON ALL THOSE THAT DEFRAUDED THIS NATION FOR THEIR OWN SELFISH INTEREST. JUST BEAR IN MIND THAT TIME CHANGES EVERY SITUATION.

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