By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Switzerland government has said it would soon return the sum of $321m Abacha loot in Switzerland as part of its commitment towards fighting money laundering and other trans-national crimes in that country.
The Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Eric Mayoraz, made the disclosure on Friday during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Legal Assistance on criminal matters, between the Swiss government and the Federal Government of Nigeria in Abuja.
The ambassador, who stated that the MOU is aimed at fostering understanding between the two countries particularly as it relates to their different legal system said, “We are now in the process of repatriating $321m from the second batch of the Abacha loot”.
He added that the country had in 2005 repatriated $722m in the first batch.
Mayoraz noted that today’s event is significant in the sense that it would eradicate every bottleneck associated with the repatriation of stolen funds starched in his country.
“Our countries enjoy excellent relations and we cooperate as partners in many fields, on the return of looted assets, migration, human rights, humanitarian assistance and many others.
“Today, we decide to take this cooperation forward to deepen it in the field of judicial cooperation. By signing a Memorandum of Understanding in this important area, our two States further strengthen their ties of friendship and cooperation”, he said.
While stating that fighting international crime, in particular corruption, is an important issue also for the Swiss government as the MoU provides for a settle foundation to improve cooperation, the envoy added that it has the advantage of bringing direct contact through central authorities as well.
He said the model request attached to the MoU will help to improve the quality of MLA requests.
Further details later