The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Justice Reforms, Juliet Ibekaku on Monday said Nigeria is concluding plans with the Switzerland Government for the repatriation of the looted money – $321 million.
She made the disclosure at the Conversation on Anti-corruption Campaign organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) in Abuja.
Why it matters: Before now, Nigeria had no agreement or Memoranda of Understanding with foreign countries for the return of looted money.
Highlights: “So far, we have recovered part of the Malabu fund held by the UK courts.
“We are also working to finalise the process for the return of $321 million and by December, we are going to sign the MoU for the return of the money held in Switzerland.
“I am happy to also note here that some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in the area of asset recovery were involved in the negotiation of the MoU and will be involved in monitoring the assets.
“This is to ensure that the returned funds are managed in a transparent manner as other recovery plans continue in countries like the UK, Island of Jersey and France,’’ she said.
Ibekaku said that the Federal Government had also opened up discussion with the US government for the return of the money that left that country for two or three years from 2013.
She said that the money recovery mission was hinged on the Open Government Partnership Initiative which was committed to four thematic areas: Transparency, Anti-corruption, Access to information, Citizen Engagement and Empowerment.
She said the government had set up one asset recovery account which made it easy for anybody that wanted to track recovered money to know where the money was going to.
She said that when this administration came to power, the president set up a presidential assets recovery committee to monitor what was going on with recovered assets from the agencies.
Ibekaku said that the presidential committee, in turn, set the Assets Tracing subcommittee, adding that work was ongoing to determine where these sums of money went from 2012.
She said that the administration also created a central account in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), called the Asset Recovery Account.
The presidential aide said the president also directed all the law enforcement agencies to put all recovered money in the central account.
Ibekaku said that the president also directed that asset recovery should now be ploughed into the budget to fund part of it, starting from 2017 “so that is what the money is being used for.
She said all the money being recovered by anti-corruption agencies would go into such to fund part of the budget.