Tuesday, 8 March 2016

$321 million Abacha loot discovery; Swiss Government to visit Nigeria

Late General Sanni Abacha
The Nigeria government is expected to receive representatives of the Swiss government on Tuesday, March 8th, 2016. The two governments are to deliberate on the repatriation of another tranche of huge public funds stolen by late Head of State, General Sani Abacha. 

Premium Times reports that the delegation would be led by the Swiss Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Burkhalter, who is expected to meet with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, over the repatriation of the $321million confiscated from the family of late former head of state, Sani Abacha.

An official of the Swiss Embassy in Nigeria, Pascal Holliger, said the visit on Monday, March 7. “Yes, our foreign Minister is on his way to Nigeria on Tuesday,” Mr Holliger said. “He is coming on a working visit to Nigeria. 

During the visit, he would open the Consular General’s office in Lagos and meet with the Vice President of Nigeria and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss the issue of the repatriation of the second tranche of the Abacha’s loot,” Holliger noted. 

But some Swiss and Nigerian civil society groups, who got wind of the impending visit, dispatched a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, demanding that his government give assurance that the $321million that would be returned to Nigeria by the Swiss government would be put to good use.

Copies of the petition titled “Restitution of Abacha funds: Swiss and Nigerian NGOs demand guarantees,” was sent to the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and her foreign affairs counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, and the Attorney-General of the Federation and minister justice, Abubakar Malami. 

A duplicate of the petition was also sent to the World Bank Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, and the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs Office for International Public Law (DDIP) in Berne, Switzerland. Signed by representatives of eight civil society groups, the petitioners expressed concerns that the fund could disappear just like the repatriated funds by the government of Liechtenstein in 2914 if government did not take steps to guarantee transparency and accountability.

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