Switzerland on Tuesday undertook to return $321m stolen by former military ruler, late Gen. Sani Abacha and kept in Swiss banks.
In a statement released Tuesday by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, the pledge by Swiss authorities was contained in an agreement signed during a meeting Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had with a Swiss delegation led by the country’s Federal Councillor and Head of its Foreign Affairs Department, Mr. Didier Burkhalter and the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Eric Mayoruz, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The statement noted that the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), signed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Government while Burkhalter signed on behalf of the Swiss government.
Mr Akande said the agreement was on the restitution of illegally-acquired assets forfeited in Switzerland.
“Under the agreement, the Swiss government will award to Nigeria $321m of funds illicitly acquired by the Abacha family, 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,” the statement read.
While welcoming the offer to return the Abacha loot, Osinbajo was quoted as saying, “We guarantee that recovered assets would be put to uses for which they have been intended.”
Read also: AGF assures on recovery of $750 million Abacha loot
Commending the Swiss government on its assistance in repatriating the country’s stolen assets, the Vice President said the Federal Government appreciates the Swiss government for their laudable efforts.
He said the “Swiss has always been at the forefront of returning stolen assets and ensuring that the people of Nigeria gets the benefit.”
The commitment of Swiss authorities to repatriate stolen funds domiciled in Switzerland is seen as victory for the Buhari administration which has made anti-graft a cardinal point of its government.
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