President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged the World Bank to facilitate the speedy repatriation to Nigeria of stolen funds held by Swiss authorities.
He made the call during a meeting with visiting Managing Director of the World Bank Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati in Abuja.
Buhari said the repatriation of additional $320 million from Switzerland, which was identified as illegally taken from Nigeria under the Abacha administration, would ease the economic hardship facing the country.
The President, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, assured Ms Indrawati that his administration would take steps to ensure that public funds are no longer stolen or misappropriated by government officials.
He said: ‘‘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.
“Three hundred and twenty million dollars is a lot of money and we will not allow it to be misappropriated or diverted,’’ President Buhari told Ms. Indrawati.
One of the conditions given by the Swiss authorities is that the funds should be expended on social programmes in an efficient and accountable way, guaranteed by the monitoring of the World Bank.
President Buhari also assured the World Bank that his administration would honour agreements with the bank to stimulate Nigeria’s economy and reduce poverty.
He said Nigeria would welcome greater international assistance for rehabilitation of damaged homes, schools, health facilities and other infrastructure in the Northeast affected by 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 support you to create jobs and ensure prosperity,’’ the World Bank managing director assured President Buhari.
She expressed the bank’s support for the administration’s war against corruption.