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FG received over $311m Abacha recovered assets from U.S

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The Federal government has received approximately $311,797,866.11 of the Abacha assets repatriated from the United States and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

Attorney-General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami confirmed receipt of the funds in a press statement issued by his media aide, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.

According to Malami, the amount increased significantly from over $308million mentioned in earlier in February, due to the interest that accrued from 3rd February, 2020 to 28th April, 2020 when the fund was transferred to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The litigation process for the return of these assets titled “Abacha III” commenced in 2014 while the diplomatic process that culminated into the signing of the Asset Return Agreement on 3rd February, 2020 by the Governments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, United States of America and the Bailiwick of Jersey commenced in 2018.

“This Agreement is based on international law and cooperation measures that sets out the procedures for the repatriation, transfer, disposition and management of the assets,” he said.

According to him, “The recovery effort further consolidates on the established record of the administration of president Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government which has a history of recovery of $322m from Switzerland in 2018 which is being transparently and judiciously deployed in supporting indigent Nigerians as specified in the agreement signed with the Switzerland and the World Bank.”

Malami who led the negotiation team noted that the Tripartite Agreement and the process towards the implementation represents a major watershed in International Asset Recovery and Repatriation as it seeks to provide benefit to the victims of corruption.

In line with the 2020 Asset Return Agreement, the fund has been transferred to a Central Bank of Nigeria Asset Recovery designated account and would be paid to the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) within the next fourteen days, which is responsible for the management and execution of the projects to which the funds will be applied, the Minister stated.

Malami reiterated government commitment to deploy the assets to support and assist in expediting the construction of three major infrastructure projects across Nigeria, namely: Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, Abuja – Kano Road, as well as the Second Niger Bridge.

The recovered funds were laundered through the U.S. banking system and then held in bank accounts in the Bailiwick of Jersey. 

In 2014, a U.S. Federal Court in Washington D.C. forfeited the money as property involved in the illicit laundering of the proceeds of corruption arising in Nigeria during the period from 1993 to 1998 when General Sani Abacha was Head of State.
 In 2017, the FRN filed a case in the Bailiwick of Jersey to assert its authority as the owner of these funds and as the victim of the action of General Abacha.

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