$322.5m Abacha loot returned with interest |Switzerland

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Switzerland said it has returned all the money kept in the country by late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, with $1.5 million as interest.

Amb. Pio Wennubst, Assistant Director-General and Head, Global Cooperation Department, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria in New York.

Wennubst said Switzerland returned about $322.5 million(N116.11 billion) to the Federal Government. According to him, the original amount was $321 million. The Federal Government had announced receipt of $322.51 million from the Swiss government as part of the looted funds recovered from the late former Head of State. Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, through her Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Oluyinka Akintunde, had confirmed the receipt of money from Switzerland. Akintunde said: “We state that $322,515,931.83 (N116,105,735,458.80) was received into a Special Account in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on December 18, 2017, from the Swiss government.” Confirming this, Wennubst in his words said “We returned N321 million dollars including the interests. We return all the amount, $322.5 million including the interest for the time that the funds were blocked.” The Swiss envoy also said the money was returned to the Nigerian government unconditionally. He said: “We are not talking about the condition; there was a programme on the social safety net that was developed by the Government of Nigeria and the bank. “After discussing, the only condition set by the judiciary, not by us, was that the return of this asset should have been monitored by the World Bank and this is where we worked on.” According to him, these funds were part of the Nigerian government contributions to the social safety net programme, “plus concessional loans from the Bank.”

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