President Muhammadu Buhari , on Tuesday , expressed his gratitude to Switzerland for returning funds stolen by corrupt government officials to Nigeria .He said Nigeria was “ deeply grateful to Switzerland for its support in resuscitating the economy , especially the return of illegally stolen funds” and in helping to intervene in the Boko Haram insurgency in the North -East .
While receiving letter of credence from the Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria , Mr George Steiner , at the Presidential Villa .
“ We are grateful to the Swiss government for allowing the illegally stolen funds to be brought back to Nigeria , ” a statement by Buhari ’ s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity , Mr Garba Shehu , quoted the President as saying .
In his response , the ambassador told Buhari that Switzerland would continue to support Nigeria , especially to end the conflict and the plight of Internally Displaced Persons in the North- East .
Steiner added , “ We have strong and solid relations with Nigeria .
“ It is an honour and privilege for us to contribute to issues of importance in the country . ”
Recall that after a long period of engagement and negotiations between the two countries , Switzerland returned $ 322 . 5 m ( or N 116 . 1 bn ) Abacha loot to Nigeria in December , 2017 .
The money came with an interest of $ 1 . 5 m .
The original amount stashed away by Abacha was $ 321 m .
Nigeria ’ s former Minister of Finance , Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had confirmed the receipt of the stolen money by Nigeria .
“ We state that $ 322 , 515 , 931 . 83 ( N 116 , 105 , 735 , 458 . 80 ) was received into a special account in the Central Bank of Nigeria on December 18 , 2017 , from the Swiss government , ” the Special Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the former minister , Mr Oluyinka Akintunde , had said at the time .
Also speaking on the returned funds , Assistant Director – General and Head , Global Cooperation Department , Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation , Ambassador Pio Wennubst , said the money was indeed returned .
“ We returned $ 321 , including the interest. We returned all the amount , $ 322 . 5 m including the interest for the time that the funds were blocked ” , the official added .
Meanwhile , Buhari also received letter of credence from the Ambassador of Belgium to Nigeria , Dr Daniel Dargent.
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