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Abacha Loot: 'Nigeria, Switzerland Agree on World Bank Monitoring'

Posted by By Collins Edomaruse on 2005/06/07 | Views: 342 |

Abacha Loot: 'Nigeria, Switzerland Agree on World Bank Monitoring'

Switzerland has said its invitation to World Bank to monitor projects the $500 million Abacha loot would be put into is a joint decision of Swiss authorities and the Nigerian government.

Switzerland has said its invitation to World Bank to monitor projects the $500 million Abacha loot would be put into is a joint decision of Swiss authorities and the Nigerian government.

The country said at the weekend that World Bank's connection into the matter was jointly ratified by both countries.

Swiss envoy in Nigeria, Mr Pierre Helg, responding to an on-line inquisition, said the planned invitation of the World Bank on economic expenditure review of the projects was not as a result of unilateralism, claiming it means well for the country .

"Nigeria and Switzerland agreed that the money should be used for development projects, and monitored by the World Bank."

Helg, who also spoke on other issues, alleged that several Nigerian immigrants in his country are being escorted out because of their involvement in drugs and prostitution.

Below is the excerpt:

President Obasanjo said Nigeria has met all conditions for release of the Abacha loot stashed away in your country, what is delaying the release?

Helg: Two elements: 1) The monitoring: Nigeria and Switzerland agreed that the money used for development projects should be monitored by the World Bank.

2)The repatriation of the illegal Nigerian immigrants currently living in Switzerland: This old issue preoccupies the Swiss authorities because, each month on the average, for one illegal immigrant escorted back to Nigeria, we have three or five new Nigerians entering illegally into our country. Many of them are involved in the drug and prostitution business. Switzerland, therefore, expects a more pro-active co-operation from the Nigerian authorities in this context.

Your country talked about the appointment of World Bank officials to administer the use of the money, what is behind this?

There is no special appointment. The monitoring we have in mind would be a classical one, that is to say a Public Expenditure Review. But precisely, the concept is still under consideration.

Who will pay for the services of the World Bank officials, is it at no cost to Nigeria?

There will be no additional cost for Nigeria because of a Swiss involvement.

What measures has your country put in place to ensure that looted funds are not kept in your banks in future?

There are strict procedures to be respected by banks before accepting a new client: information on the person, identification of the real economic owner, recommendations by well known clients or credible persons in the bank, detailed fortune history of the new client, etc. In case of doubt, the bank has to report/consult Swiss authorities. Violation of these procedures could lead to criminal sanctions against the banker.

How many Nigerian illegal immigrants do you have in Switzerland that you now tie their repatriation to the return of the Abacha loot?

There is no tie. The question of illegal immigrants is a parallel issue. The number of illegal immigrants amounts to about 500 persons these days.

How soon will the World Bank connection be through or be completed?

Unfortunately I am not in a position to give deadlines in this field.

How did your home country feel about the Obasanjo statement?

The statement of President Olusegun Obasanjo is practically unknown in Switzerland, because there are no Swiss corespondents in Nigeria. But I can say that the Swiss who are familiar with the Abacha loot are very concerned by the monitoring of the funds once restituted.

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.