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Nigeria requests aid to track late dictator's missing assets

Nigeria has made a formal request to Switzerland for help in retreiving hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly misappropriated by the late dictator, General Sani Abacha. The justice ministry says it is considering the request.

This content was published on January 13, 2000 - 11:27

Nigeria has made a formal request to Switzerland for help in retreiving hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly misappropriated by the late dictator, General Sani Abacha. The justice ministry says it is considering the request.

Nigeria accuses Abacha, his family and associates of "systematically pillaging" the central bank over a number of years. Pending an investigation, Switzerland has already frozen around half a billion dollars relating to Abacha in more than 100 bank accounts in Geneva and Zurich.

The Swiss justice ministry must decide whether the Nigerian authorities have provided sufficient evidence of a link between investigations in Nigeria and the assets blocked in Switzerland. A Geneva-based lawyer representing Nigeria is also preparing legal moves to investigate assets that may have been deposited by Abacha in Luxembourg, France and Germany.

Abacha died of an apparent heart attack in June 1998, after ruling the country for five years. His regime was notorious for its brutality as well as its corruption. A civilian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, took office in May, ending 15 years of military rule in Nigeria.

From staff and wire reports

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