Tunisia has been given the first payment of the money plundered from the country by the former regime. A UN lawyer working on the case handed a cheque for $28.8 million to President Moncef Marzouki this week. The cash was recovered from Lebanese bank accounts of the wife of deposed president Zainul-Abedeen bin Ali.
This is the first repayment of money smuggled out of Tunisia by members of the ousted regime before its downfall. Although nobody knows exactly how much money was plundered estimates run into the billions of US dollars.
The post-revolutionary Tunisian government hopes that it will be able to regain all of the money so that it can be invested in development projects which will provide employment in the country. However, it faces legal and political complications over access to the relevant bank accounts, especially those in Europe.
On a related issue, the government in Tunis has started a new round of negotiations with a delegation from the International Monetary Fund this week regarding a loan of $1.78 billion.