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Abacha funds Switzerland to return $321 million to Nigeria

Women in Nigeria

The returned funds should help improve the lives of Nigeria’s poorest.

(Keystone/AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

Representatives from Switzerland, Nigeria and the World Bank have signed an agreement outlining how the Swiss will return funds embezzled by former Nigerian leader Sani Abacha. 

The three parties signed the deal at the Global Forum on Asset Recovery in Washington on Monday. It outlines the terms of the restitution of some $321 million (CHF316 million) – which Switzerland had confiscated from Nigeria and has since been frozen. 

+ Read about how Switzerland has been handling so-called ‘dictator funds’ 

While Abacha was in power from 1994-1998, his clan is thought to have diverted about $5 billion from the Nigerian treasury. Much of it ended up abroad, including in Switzerland. 

Monday’s deal follows a letter of intent signed by the two countries in March 2016. Switzerland will return the money to Nigeria in instalments. 

“The agreement stipulates that the restitution of funds will take place within the framework of a project supported and overseen by the World Bank,” announced the Swiss authorities in a media releaseexternal link. The project is aimed at boosting social security for the poorest sections of the Nigerian population.

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