Switzerland Government has signed a 50,000 dollar contract with the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ for the completion of the Independent Civil Society monitoring of the recovered 322.5million dollar, Nigeria Former Head of state, Late General Sani Abacha looted and being distributed to poor Nigerians through the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT programme of the Federal Government.
ANEEJ in a news update on its website today said the contract signed by Mr. Holger Tausch, on behalf of the Division Global Institutions of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, FFDA, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and Reverend David Ugolor, the Executive Director of ANEEJ, will last for one year beginning from November 2021 to cover 8 per cent of the total monitoring funds for the project.
The agreement is coming after a couple of meetings between the swiss government, ANEEJ and other stakeholders to ensure the realization of the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding, MoU signed between the Nigeria and Switzerland at the inaugural Global Forum on Asset Recovery, GFAR Summit held in Washington DC in December 2017.
It was gathered that by virtue of article 13 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, UNCAC 2003, states parties to the Convention are mandated to involve civil society organizations, CSOs in the combat of corruption.
“Combating corruption necessarily includes involvement of CSOs in the recovery, repatriation and management of recovered assets”, ANEEJ said.
ANEEJ statement reads further:
In compliance with the above UNCAC regulation, the Federal Government of Nigeria agreed a Terms of Reference, ToR with Nigeria Civil Society Organisations for the purpose of monitoring the returned 322.5million dollar Abacha loot.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Government of Nigeria, the World Bank and the Government of Switzerland established a framework for the return of the funds as well as the monitoring mechanism of the funds.
ANEEJ in the ToR was saddled with the responsibility of leading Civil Society independent monitoring of the returned assets under the aegis of Network on Asset Recovery, NAR.
It would be recalled that the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO under its Anti-Corruption in Nigeria, ACORN programme in April 2018 provided funding for the ANEEJ-led MANTRA project to carry out end to end independent monitoring of the disbursement of the returned loot.
Following the down turn in global economy occasioned by the covid-19 pandemic, the FCDO stopped funding of the project in January 2021.
ANEEJ and its partners have kept an eye on the disbursement since then until reprieve came their way from the Swiss Government committed to ensuring the successful disbursement.
Already, ANEEJ has commenced first phase of spot checks and upstream monitoring of the fund’s disbursement to the poor in some selected states across the country. A report is expected before the end of the year 2021.
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