Politics

Nigeria fights to retrieve stolen $2.5bn hidden in Switzerland, others

Aside the $321 million Abacha loot expected from Switzerland, Nigeria is still fighting for recovery of another tranche of stolen money, estimated at about $2.5 billion, in foreign banks.

This was disclosed by an official of the EFCC, shortly after Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), with Switzerland, to retrieve money banked in Swizz banks by corrupt Nigerian public officials.

The new funds are said to be scattered in banks across Europe and the United States, which are still under security watch.

But while signing the MoU, in Abuja at the weekend, the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Eric Mayoraz, said his country had, in 2005, returned $722 million as the first batch, adding that with the agreement, the era of linking Nigeria’s stolen funds with the  country had become a thing of the past.

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The envoy added that the MoU will help remove all legal bottlenecks leading to the process of returning any illegal funds traced to Switzerland.

“Our countries enjoy excellent relations and we co-operate as partners in many fields, on the return of looted assets, migration, human rights, humanitarian assistance and many others,” he said.

It is further speculated that more than $2 billion was allegedly starched out of the country by the late dictator between 1995 to 98.

Foreign sources say more than 60 percent of stolen funds fromNigeria and other developing countries are traceable to Switzerland, mainly because of its liberal banking policy, which allows foreign nationals easy access to the system.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hajia Abba Ibrahim, in her remark, revealed that the agreement would help block accounts of funds linked to money laundering and other transnational crimes.

 

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