Fresh $23m Abacha loot recovered in Britain

Abu Mubarik May 06, 2022
General Sani Abacha_Photo: The Republican News

Britain said on Thursday that it has recovered $23 million stolen from Nigeria by the country’s late military leader Sani Abacha. The recovery was done by Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

According to the NCA, the money recovered in Britain forms part of a larger pool of funds the DOJ has identified as having been misappropriated by Abacha and his associates.

“The NCA is committed to ensuring that the UK is not a safe haven for criminals to launder their proceeds of crime, and the civil recovery of assets is a powerful weapon in this fight,” Billy Beattie, Asset Denial Senior Manager at the NCA, said.

“We work closely with UK and international partners to tackle the threat posed by corruption, which disproportionately impacts the poorest and most vulnerable members of society. We are committed to ensuring that those who perpetuate corruption do not benefit from their actions.”

The recovered funds come seven years after litigation and international negotiations pursued by the NCA at the request of the DOJ. The funds will be transferred to the DOJ. Reuters said that the NCA did not respond to a query about whether the funds would ultimately return to Nigeria.

This is the latest in a series of other funds stolen by Abacha and his family, repatriated from Europe and the U.S., which the media now describes as the Abacha loot.

According to Nigeria’s The Cable, over $3.624 billion of the Abacha loot was recovered between 1998 and 2020.

In 2020, the United States Embassy in Nigeria disclosed that it had discovered $319m of cash looted by Abacha in France and the United Kingdom.

Similarly, in 2019, the government of Jersey, a self-governing dependency of the United Kingdom in the Channel Islands between England and France, seized an amount of £211 million ($267m) that belonged to the former Nigerian military dictator who died in 1998.

Abacha, who presided over a repressive government between 1993 and 1998, stole more than $1 billion from oil-rich Nigeria. 

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