The Federal Government on Tuesday signed an agreement called “Letter of Intent” with the Swiss government with the aim of repatriating $321m looted by a former military ruler, late Gen. Sani Abacha.
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, the agreement was 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.
He said 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.
He 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 stolen fund, Osinbajo was quoted as saying that the Federal Government is now developing a framework that would aid the repatriation of such stolen assets starched abroad by those who have looted from the country’s resources in the past.
He added that the framework would also ensure that the recovered funds are not re-looted.
“We guarantee that recovered assets would be put to uses for which they have been intended,” he said.
The Vice President said the framework once finalised would be made public.
He said the document would cover the whole spectrum from the source of the stolen asset to how it would be managed once recovered.
“The framework will guarantee that returned assets will be used in the interest of the people of this country,” he added.
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 noted that the “Swiss has always been at the forefront of returning stolen assets and ensuring that the people of Nigeria gets the benefit.” Punch