According to the envoy, the MoU will facilitate easy repatriation of new cases of criminal lodgement of money in Swiss Banks to Nigeria. “We have repatriated $720 million in 2005 to Nigeria and we are now in the process of repatriating $321 million from the second batch of Abacha funds that we have collected.
The government of Switzerland and Swiss Federation Council (SFC) have indicated their readiness to repatriate the sum of $321 million from the second batch of the funds allegedly stashed away in that country by late former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, to Nigeria.
The MoU is for the future cases, so it will allow a better cooperation and of course, if Nigeria has some new cases to submit to Switzerland, it will accelerate the process through this MoU that we just signed today. “It will reduce time for the process of transmitting the legal request from Nigeria to Switzerland and also from Switzerland to Nigeria because the MoU is not only for looted assets, it is also for all criminal matters,” he said. Earlier in his speech, Mayoraz noted that people goods and money move around the world easily,adding that the mobility of these goods, money and items is not limiting to honest people and clean money.
This was disclosed in Abuja yesterday by the Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, Mr. Eric Mayoraz, after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the SFC and the Federal Government on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
He said that criminal and proceeds from crime profit from it as well and calls on states to cooperate in order to fight transnational organised crimes, corruption, money laundering, the drug trade, and the like. Explaining the provisions of the MoU, the Ambassador highlighted two aspects, which he said, would bring the two countries closer to their goal of fighting international crime if followed. He said: “The MoU provides for foundations to improve cooperation.
In particular, it brings direct contact between central authorities within our respective judicial authorities and ministry of justice and second, it aims at fostering the understanding of each other’s legal system in realities.” Referring to the MoU as a common venture, he said it would be a win-win situation for both countries.
“We set out a common venture. The venture includes the fight against corruption, a priority of President Buhari’s government. Nigeria fights corruption, Switzerland fights money hailing from corruption and other international crimes entering into bank accounts. “There is a common ground. This is not a legal tool. If we will each do our share of the work, we can reach our goal.
It will, in the future, be harder to profit from corruption and I am very proud of that,” Mayoraz noted. Earlier in her remarks, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadija Abba Ibrahim, who represented the Federal Government, expressed the appreciation of the government on the willingness of the government of Switzerland to support the anti-corruption agenda of the present administration. She noted that the importance of the repatriated funds would facilitate essential development in the country.
She said the MoU was not only peculiar to one case but any looted funds, stressing that: “It would make the bureaucracy of repatriating money from Switzerland much quicker and easier.” Among the dignitaries present at the signing ceremony were the representatives of the Minister of Justice, and the Undersecretary, Economic and Consular, Mrs. Regina Ezuwa.