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Switzerland to return $321m Abacha loot -FG

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

The Federal Government yesterday disclosed that the government of Switzerland would soon return the sum of $321 million stolen from Nigeria and stashed away in foreign countries by the late former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha and his family.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), who made the disclosure explained that the funds would be returned to Nigeria in tranches under a project known as “the National Social Investment Programme” aimed at strengthening social security for the poor in Nigeria.

A statement by the AGF’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Isah, stated that a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding signed by Nigeria along with Switzerland and the World Bank in the United States of America on Monday activated the move.

The statement revealed that the Attorney General of the Federation signed the MoU alongside representatives of Switzerland and World Bank at the ongoing Global Forum on Asset Recovery in the US.

Isah further disclosed that the Director of the Directorate of International Law and Head of the Swiss delegation to the GFAR, Roberto Balzaretti, signed the MoU on behalf of the government of Switzerland while the Country Director of the World Bank office in Abuja, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud signed on behalf the World Bank.

He explained that the MoU spelt out the modalities of returning money by Switzerland to Nigeria.

“The chosen solution for restitution is being undertaken by the three contracting parties as a partnership in line with the objectives of Switzerland’s strategy to freeze, confiscate and return the illicitly acquired assets of politically exposed persons (asset recovery) which is based on the principles of transparency and accountability.

“It also allows the involvement of civil society in the monitoring of the restitution process. Furthermore, the return of these funds makes a concrete contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and can set a good example internationally for future restitution cases.”

He explained that the sum was initially frozen in Luxembourg and confiscated by Switzerland as part of criminal proceedings brought by the public prosecutor’s office of Geneva against Abba Abacha in December 2014.

“The signing of this MoU gives Nigeria visibility and will set precedence on the need for transparent management of returned assets internationally.

“The GFAR brought together experts from the field of asset recovery to strengthen international cooperation in this area.

“Nigeria will also use the opportunity of the GFAR meeting at the headquarters of the International Finance Corporation in Washington DC to negotiate the return of other assets and also engage in bilateral meetings with several other countries,” the statement quoted the AGF.

According to Isah, the Nigeria’s delegation to the meeting which was led by Malami has the Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform and Coordinator, Open Government Partnership, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, Nigeria/GFAR Focal Person and Assistant Director, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Ladidi Abdulkadir, a representative of the civil society organisations, Reverend David Ugolor, who is also the Executive Director, African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, as members.

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  1. Dr. Uche Kalu 6th December 2017 at 9:58 am

    The Leaders of PANDEF should immediately lay their claim on that repatriated Abacha’s loot before President Buhari and his Duara clansmen and kinsmen lay their filthy fingers on the money and share it amongst
    themselves, like they did with Mallam Abdulrasheed Miana’s recovered Pension Funds.
    After all, that money is just a tiny fraction of Billions of Dollars looted by the late Gen.Saní Abacha from N’Delta gas and oil money.
    The money belongs to the people of N’Delta and should be used for Ogoni clean-up and to help in rebuilding Odi and Gbaramatu Communities.
    One might ask when President Buhari is going to return his own loot? As a Chairman of PTF under Gen. Abacha, Mallam Muhammadu Buhari looted $2.84bn from the PTF (Petroleum Trust Funds.It was also Buhari himself,who oversaw that mindless loot of our vast oil and gas revenues by his then Principal,Gen. Sani Abacha.
    A record of an American Federal Court in Washington DC, shows that President Buhari must have used his dear
    wife as a front person,to collect his own share of Halliburton Bribery Money along with other Ex-Presidents.
    The name Aisha Buhari is contianed in the list of the recipients of that afore-mentioned Bribery Money.
    Like I stated in my previous blog on Mainagate,Preisdent Buhari and his APC led Government’s fight against
    corruption is very selective at best,an utter hogwash and indeed a joke taken too far.
    One might aptly question the propriety of President Buhari making himself our Petroleum Minister and why at the same time, the President went out of his way into appointing his nephew as the Managing Director of NNPC?
    Nigerians are simply scandalised that all our Secret and Security Institutions; the DSS,EFCC,ICPC,NIA,SSS,you name them; are all headed by Buhari’s Daura Clansmen,Kinsmen and of course, all muslims without a single
    exception.
    Like Nazi Fascists, they are running roughshods against the Opposition Party Members,non-muslims and they simply go about it without respects for our common laws,codes of conducts, human rights and for the dignity of man.
    If indeed,President Buhari and members of his APC led Government were honest and serious about their fight
    against corruption,they could at list, have started with themselve and later go after the very mother of corruption in the polity,the ownership of oil blocs by outsiders, in other people’s back yards,fishing ponds and waters.
    How on earth could the Abachas,Abdulsalamis,Buharis,IBBs and OBJs of this world defend ,explain and justify
    their sharing of oil blocs to themselves,family members,cronies et al,who are non-members of our Lower Niger
    Region,where the oil exist, and at the excclusion of the People of the Lower Niger Region?
    Oh justice where art thou gone,jare! Oh no!
    But this is 21st Century not the Middle Ages.
    ”Ewo-o-o-o! Ndi-abakpa and Ndi-ofe-manu we nerizi nze.
    Obasi ndi-na-elu,biko nyere anyi Ndigbo aka. Amen!”
    No to the status quo ante bellum!
    Down with Hausa/Fulani Islamic Hegemony!!
    All Hail Biafra,the Land of the Rising Sun!!!

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