Nigeria accuses Switzerland of being ‘accessory’ to Abacha loot

Former Head of State, Sani Abacha
Former Head of State, Sani Abacha

Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has flayed Switzerland for its role in keeping the infamous Abacha loot and making the process of repatriation of the assets strenuous.

The Abacha loot refers to monies believed to have been stolen and stashed in countries and tax havens around the world by late Nigerian ruler, Sani Abacha.

Switzerland recently agreed to repatriate a fresh $350 million as part of the Abacha loot in that country.

The minister said he was also shocked and angry by the chunk of the money retained by “institutions in Switzerland and lawyers”.

Mr Onyeama spoke Tuesday morning at the opening of 2nd International Conference on Combating Illicit Financial Flows and Enhancing Asset Recovery for Sustainable Development.

The two-day event is organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), in conjunction with other partners.

Mr Onyeama described the action by Swiss authorities as “daylight robbery”, to enthusiastic applause from the audience.

He accused countries receiving illicit finances of “condoning huge thefts” saying they are “accessories” to such crimes.

“They are guilty of theft as those who transferred the money in the first place. This is simply unacceptable and immoral,” he said.

The minister said developing countries “can least afford illicit financial flows” due to the impact on the economy.

In his keynote address, the deputy executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Abdalla Hamdok, appraised the means of illegal financial flows, while recommending measures to address the loopholes.

According to him, “60 to 65 per cent of illegal financial flows” in Africa is carried out by multinational companies.

Mr Hamdok also listed other ways of illicit financial flows to include money laundering, drugs and human trafficking.

He said illicit financial flows is “one of the greatest development threats facing Africa” saying there is need for concerted effort to stamp it out.


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