The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) announced Thursday that negotiation has been concluded with Switzerland on the return of $321Million recovered from the late Abacha family.
Malami also said the country recently recovered $85m from the controversial Malabu Restrained Funds from United Kingdom (UK).
Spokesman to the Minister, Salihu Isah, in a statement Thursday, said Malami disclosed these in Abua at a Pre-Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) Consultative meeting with the theme: “Building an ending framework for asset recovery in Nigeria.”
Isah quoted Malami as saying that with the conclusion of negotiation, the Memorandum of Understanding will be signed by parties at the Global Forum on Assets Recovery meeting to be held on between December 4 and 6 in Washington.
He said after parties’ endorsement of the MOU, the repatriation of the funds would follow within weeks as agreed by the parties.
He said Malami stressed the need for the international community to ensure the implementation of measures considered and adopted at the London Anti-Corruption Summit in May, 2016.
Malami, Isah said, assured that the country was willing to support the transparent return of stolen assets. He urged the international community to ensure prompt return of assets from the country to enable it meet the sustainable development goals.
He quoted Malami as sayin:”“It is widely acknowledged that corruption undermines economic development, political stability, rule of law, social development, disrupts social order and destroys public trust in the governance system. It is an established fact that corruption which is linked to organised crime, terrorism and insecurity is one of the reasons for underdevelopment.
“Resources and funds meant for development of infrastructure in education, health and security sectors, among others have been stolen and hidden in different parts of the world,”
Isah said the British Ambassador to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright (represented by Senior Police Advisor, Michael H. Bonner) and. Swiss Ambassador, Eric Mayoraz commended the Nigerian government for collaborating with Civil Society Organizations to fight corruption and in tackling illicit financial flows.
He said they pledged the support and cooperation of their home countries in repatriating stolen funds stashed away in banks at their countries back to Nigeria in due course.
Isah also quoted the Director MacArthur Foundation, Dr. Kole Shettima as praising the Nigerian government for getting interest groups on board for the asset recovery drive.
He said Shettima wished that other parties like the Nigerian movie industry known as Nollywood as well as the media among others are involved to be all encompassing.
Shettima siad he was not comfortable with the situation where the anti-corruption war would be seen as the fight of President Buhari or government fight, but as the fight of all Nigerians.
Isah said the Director, African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), David Ugolor Said Global Forum on Asset Recovery, established as an outcome of the London 2016 Anti- Corruption Summit hosted by former British Prime Minister, David Cameron would build on the experiences of the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery (AFAR) and the Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery (UFAR).
The AGF’s spokesman quoted Ugolor as saying: “(the core objective of GFAR is to convene practitioner experts to provide an effective opportunity for countries to cooperate on asset recovery cases.
“It also tries to highlight the importance of strong political commitment, multijurisdictional coordination and practitioner interaction. “Its inaugural meeting will focus on assistance to four priority countries; Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Ukraine”.