Nigeria will on June 25, 2014 receive the sum of Euro 167 million ($227 million) from the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein, being part of looted funds recovered from the Abacha family.
A statement from the Ministry of Finance signed by Paul Nwabuikwu, Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance said President Goodluck Jonathan will constitute an inter-ministerial committee to identify the best projects and programmes in which to invest the funds.
The statement added that President Jonathan has directed that “part of the funds be saved in the Future Generations Fund, one of the Funds managed by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) to help secure the economic future of both Nigerian youths and unborn Nigerians.”
Paul Nwabuikwu noted that as part of the agreement reached with the Principality of Liechtenstein, the World Bank will assist in monitoring the utilization of the funds in specific projects.
According to Nwabuikwu, “the return of the funds is the culmination of a robust 16-year effort by the Federal Government of Nigeria to retrieve the funds. Working under the leadership of President Jonathan, the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Muhammad Adokie led the effort with support from the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retired).”
The return of the funds Nwabuikwu said “was delayed by the suit instituted at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) by companies owned by the Abachas alleging infringement of their rights to a fair trial and to peaceful enjoyment of their possessions. As a result, the Principality of Liechtenstein could not proceed with the return of the funds.”
However, to demonstrate the commitment of the Federal Government to retrieving the funds which belong to the Nigerian people, Nwabuikwu said “the Attorney-General of the Federation also filed a suit against Mr Mohammed Abacha before the Abuja High Court and as part of the negotiations to expedite the recovery of the funds, the Abachas agreed to discontinue their suit before the ECHR.”
The Federal Government he said “also equally withdrew the case against the Abachas, to pave the way for the release of the looted funds by Liechtenstein.”
Nwabuikwu also disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Finance has released the sum of N200 billion Naira for capital projects for the second quarter of the year. This brings total capital releases for the first two quarters of 2014 to N400 billion.