In a media release on 11 February 2011, Switzerland's Federal Department of Foreign Affairs announced the freezing of assets of Mohammad Hosni Mubarak, the ousted president of Egypt. The department also announced the freezing of assets of "parties close to" Mubarak so as to avoid "misappropriation of Egyptian government assets."
It is believed that like Mubarak, many repressive leaders and dictators all across Africa swindle state funds and stash staggering sums of tax-payers' money in bank accounts in Switzerland. This thievery has damaging consequences on millions of suffering Africans - many of whom languish in poverty while the Swiss economy flourishes with money that was meant to build roads, construct schools, hospitals and lift one of the world's poorest people from poverty.
Institutionalized corruption in the backyard of one of the world's most developed democracies undermines core principles of democracy, including good governance, accountability and transparency, and goes a long way to deprive many Africans of the basic right to a decent life - in a continent where numerous families can't afford one decent meal a day; thoughtless of sending children to school.
By doing business with corrupt repressive leaders, Switzerland endorses corruption and the violation of basic rights that go with it.
The only way the Swiss government can "avoid misappropriation" of assets is by not accepting to bank misappropriated state funds. By upholding principles of transparency and accountability, Switzerland would not have to always go through the cosmetic process of freezing assets of ousted African Heads of States. Commonsense suggests that prevention is better than cure.
The freezing of Hosni Mubarak's assets is good news for rights advocates and millions of Egyptians who have suffered repression and poverty for almost 30 years under the leadership of one man. Misappropriated state funds stashed in Switzerland should be returned to Egypt to help bolster the struggling economy.
Some have argued that Switzerland is a "staunch ally of corrupt third world leaders and a great beneficiary of third world corruption."
The exact amount of assets linked to Hosni Mubarak in Switzerland has not been made public.
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