Banking & Finance Economy

Abacha loot: Swiss govt has returned over $1.04b to Nigeria since 1999, says Magu

MAGU: EFCC arrests 167 with FBI assistance, recovers N92m, $169,000
Written by Maritime First

…As Ibrahim says NDIC paid N7bn to FG in 2018***

Since 1999, Swiss Government has returned about $1.040 billion looted by the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha and his family members to Nigeria, it was learnt yesterday.

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu gave the information in a presentation at the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities, (IAACA), in Vienna, Austria where he spoke about the need for an effective international collaboration by law enforcement agencies to combat corruption.

He said the cost of corruption was enormous and needed a broader approach to be tackled.

The excerpts of Magu’s submission were made available to reporters by the EFCC’s Acting Head of Media and Publicity Mr. Tony Orilade.

Magu said: “Successes recorded in recovery of stolen assets have been achieved through Memoranda of Understanding, (MoU) signed between Nigeria and several countries, including Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK), the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United States (U.S.) in line with Article 57 paragraph 5 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UNCAC.

“The UK government returned stolen funds to Nigeria in the cases of Dariye and Alamieyeseigha, with over five million pounds recovered from the former Bayelsa State governor in 2012.

“In the case of Joshua Dariye, a former Governor of Plateau State in Nigeria, the British government also returned £48,000 to Nigeria in fulfillment of the UK’s commitments under Chapter V of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

“In 1999, the Swiss authorities, pursuant to a request for mutual legal assistance, returned about $723m to Nigeria.

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“A tripartite MoU between the Swiss government, the World Bank and Nigerian government also led to the return of additional $320 million Abacha loot.

“Other classes of recoveries made by the EFCC included whistleblowers cash recoveries, subsidy payment cash recoveries, third party cash recovery for NNPC, FIRS, NPA, AMCON and banks.

“In 2017, EFCC made a total recovery of N473, 065,195,977.50, $142,504,121.12, and most of the recoveries, were non-conviction based asset recovery.”

Magu listed some of them to include, real estates belonging to Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Petroleum Minister and her associates; $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 recovered in an apartment at Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in 2017; $9,772,800 and £74,000 cash in Kaduna, belonging to Andrew Yakubu, a former Group General Manager of NNPC in 2017.”

Magu called for more international collaboration and synergy on repatriation of stolen wealth.

“Corruption is acknowledged to have been an impediment to sustainable development in Africa, and the cost is so enormous that there is an urgent need for international collaboration for success to be achieved,” he said.

According to him, “though the international community has created legal and institutional frameworks for the prevention and recovery of proceeds of corruption, recovery of stolen assets stashed away in foreign lands still remains a major issue to be tackled.”

In the meantime, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation on Thursday said it remitted N7bn into the Consolidated Revenue Fund as its operating surplus for 2018 operations.

The Managing Director/ Chief Executive of the corporation, Umar Ibrahim, gave the amount in Abuja at the inauguration of newly appointed boards by the Minister of Finance,  Hajiya Zainab Ahmed.

Umar said the fund was the corporation’s normal contribution as required by the fiscal responsibility Act.

This came just as the minister of finance enjoined members of the board to exhibit high ethical values in the discharge of their responsibility.

She said, “You are assuming duty at a time when the Nigerian financial system is still facing some challenges and requires efforts aimed at addressing issues such as corporate governance, and high level of non-performing loans.

“You are also coming at a time when the system is grappling with the issues related to meeting the target of reducing financial exclusion in Nigeria to about 20 per cent by the year 2020.

“The potential benefits and risks associated with the financial technology and blockchain technology are also on the front burner.

“These and other challenges can cause threats to the stability of our financial system and must be addressed promptly for the sector to play its role in facilitating the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.”

Ahmed expressed confidence in the quality of members appointed on the board, stating that they were very capable and fit to address the challenges in the financial sector.

The Senate had last December confirmed the appointment of Mrs Ronke Sokefun as chairman of the board of the NDIC.

Members of the NDIC board include Festus Keyamo (SAN), Alhaji Garba Bello, Bri.-Gen. Josef Okoloagu, Mr Mustapha Mudashiru, and Mr Adewale Adeleke.

Responding on behalf of her board members, Sokefun assured the minister that they would put their wealth of experience to impact positively on the corporation’s overall mandate.

“I want to assure the minister and all stakeholders of Nigeria financial system that we will live up to the responsibility repose on us by Mr President.

“We will bring our wealth of experience to bear on the corporation and the Nigerian banking system particularly in the discharge of the corporation’s mandate to ensure strict compliance with corporate governance principle,” she added.

The Nation with additional report from Punch

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