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FG To Pay Swiss Govt. $79m As Agreement To Reclaim $400m Abacha Loot

FG To Pay Swiss Govt. $79m As Agreement To Reclaim $400m Abacha Loot
The Nigerian and Switzerland Government had an agreement over paying the Switzerland about $79m (N25.2 bn)out of the $400m(128bn) late Gen. Sanni Abacha loot, as commission before they can reclaiming the money.

The agreement was revealed on Friday, in Abuja by Mr. Olanrewaju Suraj, the Chairman of the Civil Society Network against Corruption during a discussion group to commemorate the 2016 International Anti-Corruption Day.

The meeting was organized by some set of group who unite together, which include Nigerian anti-corruption agencies, the United States /United Nations Office on Drugs and crime, the European Union and all attending senior diplomats and politicians.

During the meeting, it was recalled that Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Eric Mayoraz make it known in July that about $321m from Abacha loot would be returned back to Nigerian Government.

Mr. Suraj said that the Swiss has now figure out $400m as the original amount which they are ready to pay back to Nigerian.

But some terms and conditions are said to be agreed between Nigerian and the Swiss Government before they can send the money, while Nigerian had secretly agreed to lose $78m as part of the agreement.

Mr. Suraj said, “Unfortunately, the government goes to beg countries to get our money back rather than making demands, we appeal for the money and beg them to return it. We are fed with half information such that we even assume that we actually recover the amount stolen.

“I had a very funny experience and it is still ongoing. The $321m that the Swiss Government is meant to return to Nigeria, we discovered three weeks ago that the original money was about $400m. The legal process in Switzerland actually charged the Nigerian Government about $79m and that is why we are receiving $321m.

“The $321m is now to be returned to Nigeria with the condition that the World Bank will monitor how the funds will be spent. I cannot imagine anything more insulting.”

The Chairman recalled that in June, Dr. Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo had paid over $100m to Swiss Government as commission for returning Abacha's loot.

Mr Suruj said, “If you remember the Abacha loot in Switzerland at the time, Obasanjo's government had to finally agree to give them 10 per cent of the amount. This was about $100m and so they returned $900m to Nigeria.

“If they (Swiss Government) had not agreed and said they wanted to keep the whole money, it would have been very difficult for us and that is why the anti-corruption summit and the initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari is really focused on these western countries to remove some of those barriers and lengthy procedures that are in place and make it possible for these people to delay (the payment).”

However, when attempts to speaks with Mr. Pascal Holliger, the Swiss Embassy spokesman on phone, the telephone were not responded but he decided to respond to a test message.

While Noemie Charton, the spokesman for the Swiss Department of Foreign Affair replied in an email saying that he would find out the situation very soon.

Mr. Charton message read, “Thank you for your query. I have forwarded it to our colleagues in charge, and will get back to you in the course of next week.”

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