Nigeria is to partner with foreign consultants, comprising legal practitioners and other experts in Switzerland on a voluntary offshore asset repatriation scheme.
Mr Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice, disclosed this at an interview in Bern, Switzerland, on the sidelines of a meeting held at the Nigerian Embassy there.
Malami said that under the scheme, experts would collaborate with the Swiss Government to target funds that have not been identified in ongoing investigations.
Since 2015, $322 million looted funds have been repatriated from Switzerland.
According to Malami, Switzerland has been chosen as the pilot nation for the scheme, given the existing partnership on asset repatriation between the two countries.
“The success of the scheme in Switzerland will determine the inclusion of other nations,’’ the minister said.
He said Nigeria government was also involved in other international repatriation processes, noting the recent tripartite meeting held in the UK between Nigeria, US and the State of Jersey on asset recovery.
Speaking on the utilisation of the repatriated funds, Malami said that the monies were being channelled into various projects, closely monitored by the World Bank and the Swiss Civil Society Organisations.
“In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Repatriation, signed between Nigeria and Switzerland, there are check mechanisms embedded in the agreement.
“These checks and balances will see to the effective and transparent utilisation of the monies repatriated.’’
“These include monitoring by the World Bank, the participation of the Swiss civil society and agreement of targeted projects, especially those related to social investments such as school feeding, entrepreneurial and skill acquisition programmes of the Federal government,’’ Malami said
The minister noted that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and electronic salary payment scheme (IPPIS) were among measures being applied to block leakages in the system.