Switzerland to return millions in stolen funds to Nigeria

Joanna Estrada
December 5, 2017

The Swiss government has announced that it will return $320m (£240m) of the money allegedly stolen by Nigeria's late military ruler Sani Abacha.

Nigeria's minister of justice and attorney general, Mr Abubakar Malami, signed the MOU with Swiss authorities on Monday in Zurich. The return of the looted funds is in line with Switzerland's policy of returning illegally-acquired assets.

It didn't say precisely when, but it did say that the World Bank must be involved in supervising how the money was spent, to ensure it was used "for the benefit of the Nigerian people".

Nigeria, Switzerland and the World Bank have reached agreement that the funds will be returned through a project supported and overseen by the World Bank and aimed at strengthening social security for Nigeria's poor.

"In accordance with policy on repayment of national assets taken illegally, Switzerland has agreed with Nigeria and the World Bank to return almost US$321 for the benefit of the Nigerian people", the Swiss government said in a statement.

These funds being returned to Nigeria - initially frozen in Luxembourg - were confiscated by Switzerland as part of criminal proceedings brought by the public prosecutor's office of Geneva against Abba Abacha in December 2014.

"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 delegation is expected to return to Nigeria Thursday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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