Tuesday, April 28, 2015 4:36 pm
The Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Hans-Rudolf Hodel, says depositors are now required to prove they earned the money they intend to deposit in bank accounts in Switzerland.
Hodel stated this during an interaction with newsmen after paying a courtesy visit to the President-elect, retired Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja on Monday.
“The situation in Switzerland has changed. The policy is no longer the same. In the past, people came to deposit money in Switzerland without too much controversy.
“Now, it is not possible to deposit money in Switzerland because of legality of its origin …before you deposit money in a Swiss bank,you have to prove that you have earned that money legally.
“Also, no one can deposit huge amounts in Switzerland without legal proof.
“This is a long standing issue. Our laws are there to help all countries which are fighting corruption. We will help this government.
“If you are a wealthy businessman, you have money in billions legally. But if, for example, as a journalist, you come to Switzerland with two million dollars and say you earned it because you did a very good job, nobody will believe you.’’
The ambassador said it was the responsibility of late Gen. Sani Abacha’s family to return 370 million dollars (about N73.63 billion) to the Federal Government.
He said the Swiss Government was not involved in the latest case as the money was found at the behest of the Nigerian Government.
“There was another request by Nigeria to the Swiss authority to look for Abacha money and some amount has been found in an account, but in Luxembourg.
“The recent one is 370 million dollars. The Swiss Government is not involved. The Nigerian Government has asked for legal assistance.
“That is now between the Abacha family and the government. They have tried to find a deal so that this money can also come back,’’ he said.
The ambassador said the case was not classical, otherwise his government would have returned the money directly.
“When the government makes a request to my government, we work together on it but this case is different. The Abacha family is collaborating directly with the Nigerian government in finding a deal.
“It is not a classical case and we would have preferred a classical case where we can give the money back and make sure that it is used in the interest of the people.
“Now it is up to the Nigerian Government,’’ Hodel said.
He said part of the discussions he had with Buhari was to give assurances of helping the incoming government to fight corruption in all ramifications.
He said Nigerian should be proud of the conduct of the last presidential election just as he was proud to serve as an ambassador in the country.