Malami: Civil society groups will monitor assets recovered from Abacha

Abubakar Malami, attorney general of the federation says the federal government, has concluded plans to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of Switzerland for the release of another $321 million recovered from the family of late Sani Abacha.

Malami disclosed this at a preparatory meeting of the global forum on asset recovery (GFAR) which held in Abuja on Thursday.

According to him, a key component of the MOU is focused on meeting Nigeria’s obligation on the transparent management of returned assets.

He said civil society groups working in the area of asset recovery were involved in the negotiation of the MOU and would be involved in monitoring the assets to ensure that they are managed in a transparent manner.

Malami also expressed the government’s willingness to support the transparent return of assets and urged international partners to improve the procedure for the safe and speedy return of stolen assets.

In July 2016, Nigeria signed up for the open government partnership (OGP), as part of a national action plan (NAP).

Under the OGP, Nigeria committed to strengthening the country’s asset recovery legislation, including a “non-conviction based confiscation powers and the introduction of unexplained wealth orders”.

Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, special adviser to the president on justice reforms and national coordinator of OGP, said government’s “anti-corruption strategy is expected to provide a coordinated and comprehensive approach to fighting corruption in Nigeria”.

“Nigeria has made progress but enjoined recipient countries to ease legal technicalities and procedural issues associated with recovery and repatriation of stolen funds that could led to tension between negotiating parties,” she said.

A formal signing ceremony between Nigeria and Switzerland is expected to take place in Washington DC during the GFAR meeting in December.