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FG kick-start voluntary repatriation of stolen funds

FG kick-start voluntary repatriation of stolen funds

- The federal government has said it is set to recover funds stolen from Nigeria

- The minister of justice and attorney general of the federation said the FG would partner foreign consultants and legal experts to recover the funds

- According to Abubakar Malami, the experts would collaborate with the Swiss Government to target funds that have not been identified in ongoing investigations

Nigeria is set to partner foreign consultants, comprising legal practitioners and other experts in Switzerland on a voluntary offshore asset repatriation scheme.

Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bern, Switzerland on the sideline of a meeting held at the Nigerian Embassy.

Malami said that under the scheme, experts would collaborate with the Swiss Government to target funds that have not been identified in ongoing investigations.

It would be recalled that since 2015, $322 million looted funds have been repatriated from Switzerland.

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According to Malami, Switzerland has been chosen as the pilot nation for the scheme, given the existing partnership on asset repatriation between both countries.

“The success of the scheme in Switzerland will determine the inclusion of other nations,’’ the minister said.

He said Nigeria government was also involved in other international repatriation processes, noting the recent tripartite meeting held in the UK between Nigeria, US and the State of Jersey on asset recovery.

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Speaking on the utilisation of the repatriated funds, Malami said that the monies were being channelled into various projects, closely monitored by the World Bank and the Swiss Civil Society Organisations.

“In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Repatriation, signed between Nigeria and Switzerland, there are check mechanisms imbedded in the agreement.

“These checks and balances will see to the effective and transparent utilisation of the monies repatriated.’’

“These include monitoring by the world bank, the participation of the Swiss civil society and agreement of targeted projects, especially those related to social investments such as school feeding, entrepreneurial and skill acquisition programmes of the Federal government,’’ Malami said

He pledged the government’s continued commitment to preventing corruption; legislation, enforcement and recovery strategies in the campaign against corruption.

The minister noted that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and electronic salary payment scheme (IPPIS) were among measures being applied to block leakages and loopholes in fostering corruption.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the federal government is making final preparation to disburse $322 million fund repatriated from the accounts of former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha in Switzerland to Nigerians.

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The national coordinator of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria and special assistant to the President on justice reforms, Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu said this during an interactive session with journalists.

Ibekeaku-Nwagwu said under MoU with Switzerland, the funds would be paid directly into the accounts of the poorest Nigerians through their various accounts for two years and identification numbers to be made available on the website being developed by the National Social Investment office and the World Bank.

Source: NAN

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