The Federal Government has denied agreeing to pay the Swiss government $79 million in order to release the $321 million stashed in that country by late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.
This came as the Presidency declared, yesterday, that Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Muhammed, would remain Minister, despite her reported appointment as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
On the purported agreement with the Swiss government, Mr. Festus Akanbi, Special Adviser, Media, to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, indicated that the negotiations with the Swiss officials on the repatriation of the loot had no provision for commission, whatsoever.
He said: “The attention of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has been drawn to a misleading report, which erroneously claimed that the Federal Government has agreed to pay a $79 million commission to the Swiss government, as part of conditions for repatriation of the Abacha loot.
“The Minister of Finance clarified that the amount payable to Nigeria from Switzerland is $321 million, and is being returned to Nigeria for projects which are subject to verification by the World Bank. The recovery process is ongoing with the Swiss authorities and the World Bank has agreed to undertake the required verification.
“She stated that there is no deduction of $79 million as suggested in the report which is both ‘misleading and inaccurate’. She assured that recovery will be made in full and that there is no commitment nor requirement to pay any commission.”
Amina Mohammed remains Minister of Environment
Meanwhile, the Presidency has reacted to media reports on the purported appointment of Mrs Amina Mohammed Nigeria’s Minister of Environment as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, saying “she remains our Minister of Environment.”
In a tweet, yesterday, in Abuja, Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, assured that Nigerians would be fully informed on any development concerning the matter.
He said: “There is a lot of exuberance on the net concerning a UN job for Mrs Amina Mohammed. She remains our Minister of Environment.
“If there is anything on this that is released officially, we will let Nigerians know. I am pleased to know that she enjoys so much goodwill.”
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