Late Gen. Sani Abacha

Abacha Loot: US transfers fresh $20.6m to Nigeria, fund repatriation totals $332.4m

*The United States Government explains the repatriation of stolen funds by late Head of State Gen. Sani Abacha is in consonance with a recent agreement between both governments to repatriate assets the US forfeited from Abacha

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has said it transferred over $20.6 million to the Federal Government of Nigeria as part of the taxpayers’ looted funds traced to late General Sani Abacha, a former Nigerian military leader, and his co-conspirators in governance at the time.

ConsumerConnect reports the US DoJ, in a statement issued Thursday, November 17, 2022, disclosed the fresh repatriation now brings the total amount forfeited and the United States returned to the West African country in this case to approximately $332.4 million.

Recall that in 2014, a judgment was entered in the District of Columbia, ordering the forfeiture of approximately stolen $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  Abacha.

The late Nigerian Military leader became the country’s Head of State through a military coup November 17, 1993, and held that position until his demise June 8, 1998.

Subsequently, the Department of Justice, in 2020, noted it repatriated over $311.7 million of the forfeited assets that had been located in the Bailiwick of Jersey.

Likewise, the United Kingdom (UK) Government enforced the US judgment against the additional over $20.6 million 2021.

The US Government said the repatriation was in accordance with an August 23 agreement between both governments to repatriate assets the United States forfeited from Gen. Abacha.

The statement said: “Under the agreement signed in August, the United States agreed to transfer 100% of the net forfeited assets to Nigeria to support three critical infrastructure projects in Nigeria that were previously authorised by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari 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 U.S. dollars.”

The US also noted: “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 of each of these important regions in Nigeria.”

According to the American country, the bilateral agreement includes key measures to ensure transparency and accountability, including administration of the funds and projects by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), financial review by an independent auditor, and monitoring by an independent civil society organisation with expertise in engineering and other areas.

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