Home crime US Returns Another $20.6m Abacha Loot to Nigeria

US Returns Another $20.6m Abacha Loot to Nigeria

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) said it had transferred $20.6 million to the Nigerian government in accordance with an August 23 agreement between the governments to expatriation assets stolen by late dictator General Sani Abacha and his cohorts

This was disclosed in a statement published  on the DoJ website last Thursday, the expatriation brings the total amount forfeited and returned by the US in this case to approximately $332.4 million.

In 2020, the department expatriation over $311.7 million of the forfeited assets that had been located in the Bailiwick of Jersey.

Last year, the United Kingdom enforced the US judgment against the additional $20.6 million.

In 2014, a judgment was entered in the District of Columbia ordering the forfeiture of approximately $500 million located in accounts around the world, as the result of a civil forfeiture complaint for more than $625 million traceable to money laundering involving the proceeds of Abacha’s corruption.

The forfeited assets represent corrupt monies laundered during and after the military regime of Abacha, who became Head of State through a military coup on November 17, 1993, and held that position until his death on June 8, 1998.

The complaint filed in the case alleged that Abacha, his son

Mohammed, their associate, Abubakar Bagudu, now Kebbi State

Governor, and others, embezzled, misappropriated, and extorted

billions of dollars from the government coffers and others, and

then laundered their criminal proceeds through US financial

institutions and transactions.

The statement read,

‘’The United Kingdom’s cooperation in the

investigation, restraint, and enforcement of the US judgment,

along with the valuable contributions of Nigeria and other law

enforcement partners around the world, including the United

Kingdom’s National Crime Agency, as well as those of the Justice

Department’s Office of International Affairs, have been

instrumental to the recovery of these funds.

‘’Under the agreement signed in August, the US agreed to

transfer 100 per cent of the net forfeited assets to Nigeria to

support three critical infrastructure projects in Nigeria that we

re previously authorised by Nigerian President, Major General

Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) and the Nigerian legislature.

‘’The $20,637,622.27 marks a slight reduction from the $23

million announced in August due primarily to exchange rate

fluctuations between British pounds sterling and US dollars. The

funds governed by this agreement will help finance the Second

Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and the Abuja-Kano

road – investments that will benefit the citizens.

The department appreciated the extensive assistance provided by

the governments of the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Jersey, and

France in this investigation.

It added that the case was brought under the Kleptocracy Asset

Recovery Initiative by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the

Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section

working in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The US encouraged individuals with information about

possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or

laundered through the US to contact federal law

enforcement or send an email to [email protected].