By Chika Otuchikere
The Federal Government has ended the controversy trailing the whereabouts of 322.51 million looted by the late head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha.
On Tuesday, the government admitted that it received the money from the Swiss government. The confirmation came from the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
Adeosun, through his media aide, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, said in a statement in Abuja that the money was received into the treasury in December 2017.
She said that there was no controversy surrounding the recovery of stolen funds by the former head of state from the Swiss government.
According to Akintunde, a�?The minister wishes to dissociate herself and the Federal Ministry of Finance from recent reports on the Abacha refunds.
a�?The minister had at no time written any letter to the President or any member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the payment of lawyers for the Abacha recovery.
a�?She also refutes the flawed reports of controversy surrounding the Abacha recovery.
a�?We wish to state that the sum of $322,515,931.83 was received into a Special Account in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on December18, 2017 from the Swiss government.
a�?For the avoidance of doubt, there is no controversy concerning the recovery of the Abacha monies from the Swiss governmenta�?.
Akintunde said that Adeosun frowned at a recent report that she objected to the payment of $16.9 million to two lawyers who recovered the Abacha funds.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) had recalled that in 1999, the Federal Government hired Mr. Enrico Monfrini, a Swiss lawyer to recover the Abacha loot.
After a successful negotiation by Monfrini, the recovered money was domiciled with the Attorney-General of Switzerland pending the signing of a pact with Nigeria to avoid the issues of accountability that trailed previous recoveries.
All that was left after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was a government-to-government communication for the money to be repatriated to Nigeria.
However, Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, later engaged the services of another set of lawyers in 2016 for a fee of about N6 billion ($16.9 million).
The lawyers are Mr Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN), and Temitope Adebayo.
By Chika Otuchikere