FG, Switzerland sign pact on asset repatriation

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Nigeria is set to partner foreign consultants, comprising legal practitioners and other experts in Switzerland, on a voluntary offshore asset repatriation scheme.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, the disclosed this to the newsmen  in Bern, Switzerland on the sidelines of a meeting held at the Nigerian Embassy, recently.

Malami said under the scheme, experts will collaborate with the Swiss government to target funds that have not been identified in ongoing investigations.

Since 2015, $322 million Nigeria looted funds have been repatriated from Switzerland.

According to Malami, Switzerland has been chosen as pilot nation for the scheme, given the existing partnership on asset repatriation between both countries.

“The success of the scheme in Switzerland will determine the inclusion of other nations,’’ the minister said.

He also disclosed that the Federal Government is involved in other international repatriation processes, and cited the recent tripartite meeting held in the United Kingdom between Nigeria, the United States of America and specifically, the State of Jersey, on asset recovery.

Speaking on utilisation of the repatriated funds, Malami said the monies are being channelled into various projects, closely monitored by the World Bank and Swiss Civil Society Organisations.

“In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Repatriation, signed between Nigeria and Switzerland, there are check mechanisms imbedded in the agreement.

“These checks and balances will see to the effective and transparent utilisation of the monies repatriated.’’

“These include monitoring by the World Bank, the participation of Swiss civil society and agreement of targeted projects, especially those related to social investments such as school feeding, entrepreneurial and skill acquisition programmes of the Federal government,’’ Malami added.

He pledged government’s continued commitment to preventing corruption; legislation, enforcement and recovery strategies in the campaign against corruption.

The minister also noted that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and electronic salary payment scheme (IPPIS) are among measures being applied by the All Progressives Congress-led federal government to block leakages and loopholes in fostering corruption.

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