The government has moved a step closer to making it easier to return illicitly acquired funds deposited in Switzerland to their country of origin.
A news release from the Swiss foreign ministry on Wednesday said a draft law has been drawn up that will make it possible to use ill-gotten gains for public benefit in the country from which they looted. It is now is ready to be submitted to the two chambers of parliament.
The need for a change in the law became evident in connection with Swiss accounts held by the former president of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko, and the Duvalier family of Haiti. In both cases the countries of origin were unable to meet the legal requirements that would have allowed the Swiss court to return the money to them.
As the law stands currently, money can only be returned if a court in the country of origin decides to institute proceedings.
Switzerland eventually found itself obliged to release the money to the Mobutu family, but the Duvalier money is still blocked in Switzerland pending a change in the law.
The new law will allow the Federal Administrative Court to confiscate frozen assets that have been illicitly acquired if the home country fails to institute proceedings. These assets would then be used to finance programmes to benefit the population there.
The government hopes that the law will come into force speedily, so that the Duvalier case can be resolved. The money would then be used for projects in Haiti.
In the past 15 years Switzerland has returned over SFr1.7 billion ($1.57 billion) misappropriated and deposited in Swiss banks by “politically exposed persons”, including former presidents of Nigeria and the Philippines, and a former head of the Peruvian secret service.
The ministry statement says Switzerland is determined to prevent its financial centre from becoming “a safe haven for the assets of corrupt politicians”, and adds that the country has assumed a “leading role” in this area.
This is a stunning move by a country that claims to have the most democratic and balanced approach to everything, including milk chocolate.
How can a law be created that is applicable to earlier actions? This is a very dangerous precedent. Supposing a government passed a law making marriage between men and women illegal? Some would say this is a stupid example, but any step to make this type of action acceptable is a very dangerous one.
This strange situation sees the Swiss assuming authority over things that are really not in their jurisdiction
QUOTE: The new law will allow the Federal Administrative Court to confiscate frozen assets that have been illicitly acquired if the home country fails to institute proceedings. These assets would then be used to finance programmes to benefit the population there.
How in God’s name can the Swiss decide what has been obtained illicitly? The Preval government did not pursue this issue since it knows these specific funds had absolutely nothing to do with corruption.
In fact, for Preval to say anything at all would be a situation of “the pot calling the kettle black” since he has personally gobbled up hundreds of millions from the Haitian treasury and no one – especially the Swiss – has made any comment on this.
And so this money will probably be returned to Haitian government control so Preval can add it to his petty cash.
Haiti is a place in which no one really asks the real opinion of the majority. Everything is decided by a few at the top and a selection of interfering foreigners.
If the 9,000,000 Haitians minus the 500,000 lost to the recent quake, were asked their real opinion they would throw Preval out and welcome Duvalier back.
Haitian hate Preval, a president selected by MINUSTAH in what was really a rigged election during 2006. Brazil and Chile played key roles in this crime against the Haitian peoples.
Haitians still love Jean-Claude Duvalier and would welcome him back in a heartbeat.
That is the Haitian reality but reality has never had much to do with the Haitian political scene.