The United States Embassy in Nigeria has disclosed that it has discovered $319m of cash looted by General Sani Abacha in France and the United Kingdom. The amount is almost equal to the $311m received by the Nigerian government early last week.
According to the statement, $152m of the amount is being argued in court.
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The statement said, “The funds returned last week are distinct and separate from an additional $167m in stolen assets also forfeited in the United Kingdom and France, as well as $152m still in active litigation in the United Kingdom.”
According to the same source, the litigation is over a 2003 agreement reached between Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, and the Nigerian Government.
According to the agreement, $100m of the $152m was meant to settle Bagudu if he was able to aid the Nigerian government in tracing the money.
Early last week, it was reported that the Nigerian government had confirmed the receipt of more than $311 million of public funds stolen by the country’s late military ruler, General Sani Abacha.
The amount was part of an agreement by the United States and the British dependency of Jersey in February this year.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice for the West African nation, Abubakar Malami, in a statement by his special assistant on Media and Public Relations, Umar Gwandu, disclosed that $311,797,866.11 of Abacha’s loot was repatriated from the US and Jersey.
The Justice Minister further disclosed that the litigation process for the return of the asset titled, “Abacha III” started in 2014, while the diplomatic process that culminated in the signing of the Asset Return Agreement on February 3, 2020, by the governments of Nigeria, the US and Jersey commenced in 2018.
“This recovery is based on International law and cooperation measures that set out the procedures for the repatriation, transfer, deposition and management of the assets,” he said.
Per the agreement, the AGF said the Nigerian government will use the asset to support and assist in expanding local infrastructure, including the construction of three major infrastructure projects across Nigeria, namely: The Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, Abuja – Kano Road, and the Second Niger Bridge.
According to Transparency International, before his death in 1998, Abacha stole as much as $5bn of public funds. He ruled Nigeria between 1993-1998