- The Swiss government has requested a quick resolution of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on the release of the fortune belonging to Zaire's former dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko. If not, his children may inherit the funds.
Late Mr Mobuto's fortune, worth around SFr 8 million (US$ 6.54 million), which is believed to have been embezzled from taxpayers' funds and deposited into Swiss banks, was blocked 10 years ago by Switzerland, following a request by the DRC government.
According to Swiss authorities, the assets of the late dictator would be released to his inheritors on 15 December unless their origin can be legally determined. Swiss authorities froze the money shortly after Mr Sese Seko was ousted from power from was then Zaire, now the DRC.
The news agency 'Swiss Info' has reported that Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey wrote to Congolese President Joseph Kabila earlier this month, urging him to decide on what to do with the funds.
Switzerland has expressed its willingness in past to return the assets to the Democratic Republic of Congo if it could be clearly established that the funds were illegally secured. Few doubt that this is the case, as Mr Mobuto's regime was known to the world's most corrupt, but Kinshasa authorities so far have failed to present proof to the Swiss government.
With current international money laundering laws, Switzerland has returned fortunes of other African dictators, among others, of former Nigerian military Dictator Sani Abacha.
Mobutu Sese Seko who ruled former Zaire for 32 years, was ousted in May 1997 by Laurent Kabila, father of the current president, and moved to an exile life in Morocco, where he died of cancer a few months later.
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