By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—British and Swiss governments, yesterday, pledged to return looted Nigerian funds stashed away in various personal bank accounts in their countries.
The two countries also promised to work with Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and other anti-graft agencies in the fight against official corruption and theft.
The new British High Commissioner, Mr. Paul Arkwright, and Swiss Ambassador, Mr. Eric Mayoraz, made the promises at separate audiences with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, during the presentation of their letters of credence.
President Buhari, however, called for the speeding up of the processes of investigation, prosecution and repatriation of public funds stolen by past corrupt public officials and their accomplices.
Buhari said: ‘‘Switzerland and Britain have been very helpful, indeed, in the recovery of our assets. But we must build on what we have started.
‘‘It is also important to send a signal to the elite that it is no longer business as usual. I appreciate the efforts of Prime Minister David Cameron on this issue.”
Also, Mr. Arkwright assured the President of Britain’s preparedness to give Nigeria the fullest support and assistance in the recovery of its looted resources.
“We are most ready to help. We have a good team at the National Crime Agency, NCA, working with your Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Tell us where and how we can help and we will provide the assistance.”
Buhari told the new Swiss Ambassador, Mr. Eric Mayoraz: “We will get our Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work with you to ensure that all the stolen funds are returned safely to government coffers as quickly as possible.”
President Buhari also received the letters of credence of the ambassador of the State of Palestine, Mr. Saleh Fhied Saleh; ambassador of Myanmar, Mr. Tha Aung Nyun and that of Slovakia, Mr. Peter Holasek.