Johannesburg – Following a deal signed between the Swiss government and the World Bank, Switzerland is to return approximately $321 million in seized assets to Nigeria, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
The money was taken from the family of former Nigerian military ruler Sani Abacha who was accused by corruption watchdog Transparency International of stealing up to $5 billion in public funds during his five years in power in the oil-rich country from 1993 until his death in 1998.
A deal was reached between Nigeria and the Abacha family in 2014 for the funds, which had been frozen, to be returned to the country in exchange for a complaint against Abacha’s son Abba being dropped.
The son had been charged by a Swiss court with money-laundering, fraud and forgery in April 2005, after being extradited from Germany.
Abba Abacha was incarcerated for over 500 days and in 2006 Luxembourg ordered the funds held by him to be frozen.
Nigeria, Switzerland and the World Bank have reached agreement that the funds will be returned through a project supported and overseen by the World Bank and aimed at strengthening social security for Nigeria’s poor.