Switzerland government has returned more than $1billion looted and kept in the country by former Nigerian military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha, Ambassador Eric Mayoraz says.
Mayoraz, the Swiss ambassador to Nigeria, said on Thursday in Abuja that his country is partnering the Nigerian government to trace and return stolen funds stashed in foreign lands.
“All fund hidden in Swiss banks by Abacha was fully repatriated and so we don’t have any of such fund in Switzerland again. $752m was returned in 2005 and we discovered more and more in other banks and that involved the $322.5m that was repatriated earlier this year,” he said.
Speaking at a Forum on Asset Recovery hosted by the Swiss Embassy to discuss issues surrounding the Abacha 2 asset, the envoy explained that the ongoing efforts were aimed at getting a positive result in line with the Mutual Legal Persistence Request agreement signed between the two countries.
“Unfortunately, some of the assets that were returned, there was not so much transparency in it. So, we have to introduce the World Bank to get involved in this so that this particular one can be used by the Nigerian government with the monitoring of the World Bank,” he added.
President Muhammdu Buhari’s aide on Justice Reform, Juliet Ibebaku-Nwagwu, said the current government had done a lot in building confidence between both countries.
She said, ”Let me just say this, we just want our money back. By this administration’s commitment to open government partnership, we want the people to be involved in the monitoring of the stolen assets that were returned. We also came up with the open budget process so that Nigerians would know every budget details and they can be checked online too.”