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Abacha loot: Osinbajo speaks on return of $322m by Swiss govt

Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has hailed civil society groups for their roles in the return of $322m traced to late Head of State, Sani Abacha.

He gave the commendation at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) week held at the NAF Conference Centre in Abuja on Monday.

Osinbajo revealed that since the government joined the OGP, access to public information premised on the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act enacted in 2011, had improved significantly.

“I am told that at least 106 government institutions now have designated FOI Desk Officers, to ensure speedy responses to information requests in compliance with the (FOI) Act and the commitments we have made under the Nigeria OGP National Action Plan.

“We have set up a Presidential Committee on Asset Recovery (PCAR), and developed procedures and guidance to ensure that all recovered funds are paid into a single Central Bank Asset Recovery account, for improved transparency and ease of management.

“The Federal Government’s agreement with the Swiss Government on the return of looted funds traced to former Head of State General Sani Abacha, led to the remittance of US$322 million in December 2017.

“This historic agreement also includes CSO monitoring of the utilization of the returned asset. I must acknowledge the role played by The Africa Network for Environment & Economic Justice (ANEEJ) in the negotiation of this agreement and leading of other CSOs in monitoring the utilization of the fund.

“Since 2017, our annual national budgets have included a line item on revenue generated from asset recoveries. All funds forfeited to the Federal Government are being included in our yearly budget proposals, for appropriation by the National Assembly.

“We have also committed to investing these recovered funds on Infrastructure projects and our National Social Investment Programme. In addition, we have submitted a Bill to the National Assembly for the purpose of enacting a more comprehensive legislation on proceeds of crime,” he said.

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