Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Hans Rodulf Hodel, has revealed that a new loot of $370 million has been traced to former Military Head of State, Sani Abacha. The funds were discovered in Luxembourg, and Hodel has promised that the Swiss government will help Nigeria recover it.
Hodel revealed the news on Monday during a congratulatory visit to Nigeria’s president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Vanguard reports.
He also emphasized that new Swiss laws would help Nigeria and other countries fight corruption.
“This is a long standing issue. Our laws are there to help all countries which are fighting corruption. We will help this government. If you remember, many years ago we gave back the Abacha money to Nigeria. The situation in Switzerland has changed. The policy is no longer the same. In the past, people came to deposit money in Switzerland without too much controversy.
Now, it is not possible to deposit money in Switzerland because of legal origin. Before the bank has to prove that the money is illegal. But now, before you deposit money in Swiss bank, you have to prove that you have earned that money legally.
If you are a wealthy businessman, you have money in billions legally, but if, for example as a Journalist, you come to Switzerland with two million dollars and say you earned it because you did a very good job, nobody will believe you.
There was another request by Nigeria to the Swiss authority to look for Abacha money and some amount, 370 million dollars, has been found in an account, but in Luxembourg. That is now between the Abacha family and the government. They have tried to find a deal so that this money can also come back,” he said.
Hodel also stated that the money would only be released when the Nigerian government makes an official request for assistance.
“The Swiss government is not involved. The Nigerian government has asked for legal assistance. When the government makes a request to my government, we work together on it. But this case is different. That is the Abacha family directly with the Nigerian government finding a deal.
So, the Swiss government is not involved and the money is in Luxembourg. They have asked for legal assistance and we have provided the with this information. If is not a classical case and we would have preferred a classical case where we can give the money back and make sure that if is used in the interest of the people. Now it is up to the Nigerian government,” he said.