The Swiss government has confirmed that it had so far returned $723 million (roughly calculated to be worth N142.43 billion) of stolen funds seized from the family of the late former head of state, Sani Abacha, to the Nigerian government over the last 10 years.
The amount excludes $321million (about N63.24 billion) which the Swiss authorities recently said it was planning to repatriate to Nigeria.
The details of the returned loot are contained in the agreement signed on March 8, 2016 in Abuja by representatives of the Swiss Federal Council and the Nigerian government.
The agreement titled ‘Letter of Intent on the restitution of illegally-acquired assets forfeited in Switzerland’ was signed by Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the Swiss Head of Foreign Affairs Department, Didier Burkhalter.
It revealed that $321 million acquired illicitly by the Abacha family, was initially deposited in Luxemburg before being confiscated by the Swiss Republic Judiciary and Canton of Geneva following a December 11, 2014 forfeiture order.
The agreement said funds to be returned to Nigeria would contribute to the implementation of social programmes for the benefit of the Nigerian people in “an efficient and accountable way, guaranteed by a monitoring by World Bank.”
The agreement also emphasized the need for the process of repatriation of the stolen funds to be undertaken, based on international best practices of transparency and accountability in a manner that satisfied the scrutiny of civil society and the international community.
They also agreed to ensure that the deployment of the funds was monitored by the World Bank in line with separate forfeiture orders issued by the Swiss Public Prosecutor and the Canton of Geneva on December 11, 2014.
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