President Muhammadu Buhari has pleaded with the World Bank to do everything within its powers to speed up the repatriation of stolen funds still being held by Swiss authorities.
While speaking at a meeting with the visiting Managing Director of the World Bank, Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, President Buhari, stated the repatriation of the additional $320 million dollars in Switzerland, which has been identified as illegally taken from Nigeria under the Abacha administration, would help to ease the current economic hardship facing the country.
The President also assured Ms. Indrawati that his administration was taking appropriate steps to ensure that public funds are no longer stolen or misappropriated by government officials. President Buhari assured Indrawat:
“We need the support of the World Bank for the repatriation of the funds. We are as concerned as the World Bank about accountability. If such repatriated funds have been misapplied in the past, I assure you that the same will not happen with us.“$320 million is a lot of money and we will not allow it to be misappropriated or diverted.”
One of the conditions given by the Swiss Authorities for the repatriation of the funds is that it should be expended on the implementation of social programmes for the benefit of the Nigerian people in an efficient and accountable way, guaranteed by the monitoring of the World Bank.
Mr. President thus assured the World Bank Managing Director that his administration would honour all agreements with the bank that will help to stimulate Nigeria’s economy and reduce the level of poverty in the country. He also added that Nigeria would welcome greater international assistance for the rehabilitation of damaged homes, schools, health facilities and other infrastructure in the North Eastern states affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
World Bank Access to Information Committee has however, asked for more time to reach a decision on the appeal lodged with it by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), regarding spending of recovered stolen funds by the late General Sani Abacha.