Nigeria Signs Deal With Switzerland To Return $321m Abacha Loot

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The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) on Tuesday said Nigeria will receive the sum of $321m stolen by the family of late Head of State, General Sani Abacha following the signing of a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Switzerland and the World Bank.

Nigeria and Switzerland have sealed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will lead to the return of $321 million in assets seized traced to former Nigerian military ruler, Sani Abacha.

It added that Malami expressed gratitude for the support of the global community to the fight against corruption.

Global collaboration, he said was critical to the success of the fight. Fighting corruption - through institution-building, entrenching safeguards, and global collaboration - continues to be a priority for the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. We will continue to work to deepen mechanisms not just for asset recovery but for preventing corruption in the first place.

Meanwhile, Transparency International estimates that the ex-military ruler stole around $5 billion from the coffers of the Nigerian government.

He explained that the funds would be returned to Nigeria in tranches under a project known as "the National Social Investment Program" aimed at strengthening social security for the poor in Nigeria.

The organizations encouraged the sponsors of the agreement - the governments of the United States and United Kingdom - to follow Switzerland and repatriate looted Nigerian funds stored in their own countries.

A deal was reached between Nigeria and the Abacha family in 2014 for the funds, which had been frozen, to be returned to the country in exchange for a complaint against Abacha's son Abba being dropped. "This is one of the most innovative agreements towards returning stolen funds to the Nigerian people", a World Bank spokesperson said.

The World Bank will monitor the repatriation of the funds to ensure they are used to benefit the poorest Nigerians and are not stolen.