The federal government has announced plans to start a voluntary scheme to recover funds stolen from Nigeria.
Abubakar Malami, minister of justice and attorney general of the federation, made the disclosure to NAN on the sideline of a meeting held at the Nigerian embassy in Bern, Switzerland.
This comes ahead of the expiration of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), which was extended to June 30 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Malami said the federal government would partner foreign consultants and legal experts to recover the funds not yet identified in ongoing investigations, starting with Switzerland.
The minister said Switzerland was chosen on the premise of an existing partnership on asset repatriation between both countries.
Referencing the recent tripartite meeting held in the UK between Nigeria, the US and the State of Jersey on asset recovery, Malami said the repatriation scheme extends to other countries.
“The success of the scheme in Switzerland will determine the inclusion of other nations,’’ he said.
The minister said the recovered loot would be used fund government projects that would be closely monitored by the World Bank and the Swiss Civil Society Organisations.
In May, Buhari had said $321 million recovered from a loot by Sani Abacha, former military head of state, would be put into the conditional cash transfer (CCT) scheme targeted at the “poorest of Nigerians”.
The federal government also said it was in talks with the United States on the repatriation of another $500 million looted by Abacha.
“In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Repatriation, signed between Nigeria and Switzerland, there are check mechanisms imbedded in the agreement,” he said.
“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.”
The minister noted that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and electronic salary payment scheme (IPPIS) were among measures initiated by government to combat corruption.