By Ossom Raphael
Abuja – Nigeria and the Switzerland are finalising talks for the repatriation of $321 million in Swiss Banks to Nigeria, Juliet Ibekaku has said.
Mrs Ibekaku, a Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Justice Reforms, disclosed that the federal government and Swiss government will in December sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the return of the money.
At the Conversation on President Buhari’s Anti-corruption Campaign organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) in Abuja, Mrs. Ibekaku, stated that before now, Nigeria had no agreement with foreign countries for the return of looted money, which she said necessitated why it took the country awhile to initiate the process of discussion and recovery at the international level.
“So far, we have recovered part of the Malabu fund held by the UK courts. We are also working to finalise the process for the return of $321million and by December, we are going to sign the MoU for the return of the money held in Switzerland.
The Senior Special Assistant to President on Justice Reforms, said Civil Society Organisations were involved in the negotiation as well as assets monitoring.
The Presidential aide also revealed that the Federal Government had also opened up discussion with the US government for the return of the money that left that country for two or three years from 2013.
She said government had set up one asset recovery account which made it easy for anybody that wanted to track recovered money to know where the money was going to, which she said will put to rest worry by Nigerians over the whereabouts of the recovered money.
She said that the administration also created a central account in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), called the Asset Recovery Account.
On her part, the Executive Director of Centre for Democracy and Developments (CDD), Ms Idayat Hassan, said the conversation was to get some questions on the recovered money.
Ms Hassan, said it was in line with the presidents’ vision that the event was organised, to provide a platform for constructive review and interrogate government’s approach to anti-graft campaign.
She stated that the platform also sought to proffer opinions for robust, effective and sustained interventions in the anti-corruption fight and effective usage of the recovered money.
She called on the government to be more open to Nigerians the amount recovered so far and how the money was being spent to ensure much confidence from the people in its programmes and policies.