Buhari seeks return of stolen funds

Ben Adam Shemang, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the World Bank to do all within its powers to facilitate the speedy repatriation to Nigeria of stolen funds still being held by Swiss authorities.

Speaking at a meeting with the visiting Managing Director of the World Bank, Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, President Buhari said the repatriation of the additional 320 million US Dollars in Switzerland, which has been identified as illegally taken from Nigeria under the Abacha administration, will help to ease the current economic hardship facing the country.

The President assured Ms Indrawati that his administration was taking appropriate steps to ensure that public funds are no longer stolen or misappropriated by government officials.

‘‘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 US dollars is a lot of money and we will not allow it to be misappropriated or diverted,’’ President Buhari said.

Honouring agreements
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.

President Buhari also assured the World Bank Managing Director that his administration will honour all agreements with the Bank that will help to stimulate Nigeria’s economy and reduce the level of poverty in the country.

He said that Nigeria will 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.

Ms. Indrawati told President Buhari that the World Bank was ready to use its knowledge, expertise and resources to help Nigeria achieve faster growth and development.

‘‘We will strongly support you to create jobs and ensure prosperity in Nigeria,’’ she assured.

She also expressed the World Bank’s full support for the war against corruption being waged by the Buhari Administration.

 

Sammie