Nigerian govt. to unveil framework for managing recovered Abacha loot

The Federal Government on Tuesday said it would soon unfold a framework for managing $321million Abacha loot to be repatriated by the Swiss government.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said this at a meeting with a Swiss government delegation to Abuja. The team was led by the country’s Head of Foreign Affairs Department, Didier Burkhalter.

The meeting was also attended by the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Eric Mayoruz.

Mr. Osinbajo promised that the recovered funds would be put to good use for the benefit of Nigerians.

“We guarantee that recovered assets would be put to uses for which they have been intended,” the vice president said.

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

“The framework will guarantee that returned assets will be used in the interest of the people of this country,” he added.

While commending the Swiss Government, Mr. Osinbajo said, “Switzerland has always been at the forefront of returning stolen assets and ensuring that the people of Nigeria get the benefit.”

Mr. Osinbajo assured a coalition of eight Swiss and Nigerian civil society groups that the recovered funds would be put to good use.

The groups, led by the Executive Director, African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, David Ugolor, had asked the Swiss and Nigerian governments to ensure transparency and accountability in the management of the repatriated funds.

“Nigeria and Swiss governments, together with the World Bank, must take all measures necessary to guarantee that these funds be returned in a manner that is transparent and benefits the general population of the country, the people that were initially cheated out of their money,” the groups said in their petition.

The meeting also featured the signing of a “Letter of Intent,” between the Swiss Government and its Nigerian counterpart on the restitution of illegally-acquired assets forfeited in Switzerland.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the head of the Swiss delegation, Mr. Burkhalter, signed the document.

Under the agreement, the Swiss Government will award to Nigeria, $321million of funds illicitly acquired by the Abacha family which were 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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