The National Crime Agency (NCA) of the United Kingdom says it recovered $23,439,724 taken out of Nigeria illegally by associates and family of the late Sani Abacha, former military dictator.
NCA, in a statement published on its website, said the funds form part of a larger pool of monies identified by the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) as having being misappropriated by Abacha and his associates.
The UK agency disclosed that the funds were recovered after nearly seven years of litigation and international negotiation to obtain a recovery order, following a request of recovery by USDOJ.
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The agency added that the funds have now been transferred to the home office for onward transmission to the USDOJ.
Speaking on the development, Billy Beattie, asset denial senior manager at NCA, said the UK is not a safe haven for criminals to launder their proceeds of crime, adding that civil recovery of assets is a powerful weapon.
“The NCA is committed to ensuring that the UK is not a safe haven for criminals to launder their proceeds of crime, and civil recovery of assets is a powerful weapon in this fight,” Beattie 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.”
More than two decades after the Abacha regime, Nigeria is still receiving funds looted by the former dictator and his associates.
According to an analysis by TheCable Index, over $3.624 billion of the Abacha loot was recovered between 1998 and 2020. These recoveries were made under four administrations.
In 2020, $311 million Abacha loot was repatriated to Nigeria from the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey.