By Jennifer Browning
Last week the Swiss Federal Office of Justice ordered the return of $6 million (US) in assets stolen by Haiti’s former president, Jean-Claude Duvalier and associates to be handed over to Haiti. The decision was made after the account holders failed to prove to the court that the funds were legitimately acquired.
World Bank Group Managing Director, Ngozi N. Okonjo-Iweala, welcomes the Swiss order and hopes that the handover will encourage other victims in developing countries who have suffered from corruption to launch asset recovery programs.
The assets being returned will go to fund humanitarian projects in Haiti.
“The World Bank hopes that the money can be restituted as soon as possible, and be brought to the benefit of the Haitian population, which has been hard hit by recent natural disasters and will likely bear an additional burden due to the international financial situation,” Danny Leipsiger, World Bank Vice President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, said.