Eric Mayoraz, Swiss ambassador to Nigeria, says all of the monies laundered in Switzerland by Nigeria’s last dictator General Sani Abacha, have been duly returned to the country.
According to Mayoraz, the total sum amounted to N1,073 billion. The funds were sent two tranches of $752 million and $321 million, now with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
His disclosure came at an event on asset recovery efforts organised by the Swiss mission in Nigeria.
Mayoraz warned that stolen wealth could no longer be stashed in the country anymore, thanks to new regulations:
“It is to be made clear that the new laws in Switzerland do not allow for any stolen wealth to be kept in any place in the country," he said.
“As a way out of what led to Abacha loot, we have signed a Mutual Legal Assistance treaty with Nigeria and it is meant to enable us to track and expose those who want to bring in illicit wealth and prosecute them in accordance with the laws in place.”
Abubakar Malami, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said the process of recovering the last tranche of funds was not smooth. But he said the President made sure they followed through with the whole procedure. He said they also set up a central agency to manage the mechanism of operating the fund.
Represented by the Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reforms, Juliet Ibebaku-Nwangwu, Malami said Nigeria and the World Bank had consented to using the Abacha loot to fund the National Cash Transfer Scheme in order to ensure it benefits the entire country since the money belongs to the whole country.
Linda Ekeator, Manager Legal, National Social Investments Office, who represented the Special Assistant to the President on Social Investment Maryam Uwais, said the cash transfer scheme had been established in at least 19 states and 270,000 households had been captured.
She said disbursement of the $321 million to beneficiaries will begin in July.