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FG begins disbursement of $320m in July as Switzerland says Abacha loot fully returned

The federal government says it will commence disbursement of the recovered $320 million Abacha loot to 302,000 poor households in 19 states in July.

In May, President Muhammadu Buhari had said the recovered loot will be put into the conditional cash transfers (CCT) scheme targeted at the “poorest of Nigerians”.

Tukur Rumar, representative of the National Cash Transfer Office (NCTO), on Thursday listed Niger, Kogi, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Kwara, Cross River, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarrawa, Anambra and internally displaced camps (IDPs) in Borno as the beneficiaries.

Rumar said the benefiting households will receive N5, 000 monthly. He said the NCTO had been making payments to 46,000 poor and vulnerable households across the 19 states since December 2016, adding that the number had increased to 290,000.

Iorwa Apera, national coordinator, National Social Safety Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO), said 503,055 households were already on the NSR register from the 19 states, adding that by July, there would be a social register for all the states of the federation.

He said: “Some of the states delayed, but the other ones were quick enough to set up infrastructure that allowed us to start work there, but all the states are now on board as they have set up their state operating offices and donated office equipment to us.

“As states come on board, we enroll and so they extend to the beneficiary register, and presently we are generating data in all the states now.”

Meanwhile, Eric Mayoraz, Switzerland Ambassador to Nigeria, has said the $722 million Abacha family money that was hidden in Switzerland has been fully repatriated.

He said the $322 million that was repatriated in December 2017 was money that was frozen by the Swiss attorney-general but was not domiciled in Switzerland, but in other countries, mainly Luxembourg.

Mayoraz disclosed that measures have been put in place to ensure that Swiss banks were not used to hide stolen funds from other countries.

“For possible new cases, the Swiss legislation has fundamentally changed,” he said.

“The law in Switzerland does not allow bank secrecy anymore, and all banks and financial institutions have a due diligence duty to ask everyone coming with money where it is coming from.

“That does not mean that there are no illegal or stolen assets now in Switzerland, but then there is another instrument I signed myself with the Nigerian ministry of justice and Switzerland two years ago on mutual legal assistance and this is for new cases.”

He said this agreement with the Swiss ministry of justice and Nigeria would allow for direct communication and exchange on mutual legal request.

“We are really collaborating with EFCC and other agencies in Nigeria,’’ he added.

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