In a bid to recover Nigerian funds stolen by the late dictator, Sani Abacha, the government of president Buhari has agreed to pay the Swiss government
In a bid to recover Nigerian funds stolen by the late dictator, Sani Abacha, the government of president Buhari has agreed to pay the Swiss government $79m (N25.2bn) as part of conditions for refunding about $400m (N128bn) recovered from the account of the late military General’s family.
This was stated by the Chairman of the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraj, at an Abuja seminar to mark the 2016 International Anti-Corruption Day.
Several senior diplomats and politicians were at the event, organised together by Nigerian anti-corruption agencies, the European Union, the United States and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Recall in July that the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Eric Mayoraz, had promised that his nation would return $321m of the stolen Abacha loot but Suraj, a member of a panel of discussants, said the original figure meant to be returned to Nigeria was nearly $400m.
He said the Nigerian Government secretly agreed to lose $79m during the negotiations.
Act he said was disgraceful as the Swiss Government ought to pay Nigeria an interest but rather, they dictated the terms of return.
It is unfortunate that our government would rather beg countries who aided past corrupt leaders in looting our funds to refund our money rather than demanding for it. We are lied to so we will believe that we actually recover the looted sum.
This means the $321m the Swiss Government is to return to Nigeria is the figure after they have paid themselves $79m out of $400m. This is illegal.
Another insulting condition is that the $321m to be returned to Nigeria will be monitored by the World Bank as regards how it will be expended.
The spokesperson for the Swiss Embassy, Mr. Pascal Holliger was unavailable to answer calls as at press time, just like the email inquiry sent to the Office of the Attorney-General in Switzerland.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Geoffrey Onyeama, had said earlier in June that the former President Obasanjo had paid the Swiss Government over $100m as commission for the return of Abacha’s loot.
Quoting him, “If you remember the Abacha loot in Switzerland at the time, Obasanjo’s government had to finally agree to give them 10 per cent of the amount. This was about $100m and so they returned $900m to Nigeria.
If they (Swiss Government) had not agreed and said they wanted to keep the whole money, it would have been very difficult for us and that is why the anti-corruption summit and the initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari is really focused on these western countries to remove some of those barriers and lengthy procedures that are in place and make it possible for these people to delay (the payment).”