Thursday, December 8, 2022

Abacha Loot: FG, U.S. sign agreement on management of forfeited assets

Mr Malami urged the U.S. not to relent in supporting Nigeria’s commitment to the speedy, transparent management of returned assets.

• August 23, 2022
Malami/Mary Leonard
Malami/Mary Leonard

The federal government has signed an agreement with the United States of America regarding the management of some forfeited assets in relation to the MECOSTA/Sani Mohammed assets known as Abacha V.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Tuesday in Abuja, signed the agreement on the sharing, transfer, repatriation, disposition and management of the said asset.

Mr Malami said the forfeited Mecosta/Sani assets were $23,439,724.

“Permit me to express my gratitude towards the efforts of the governments of the U.S. and the UK in ensuring that looted funds recovered are returned to Nigeria; not only in this case but in other pending cases such as Bayelsa, Galactica, Blue Trust and Saborne assets.

“We are hopeful that these remaining cases will soon be concluded and that the courts will take decisions in favour of the people of Nigeria, who are the victims of the stolen assets’’.

He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had already approved that the funds be used for the ongoing Presidential Development Infrastructural Funds (PIDF) projects.

“These projects include Abuja-Kaduna Road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge under the supervision of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

“The president’s mandate to my office is to ensure that all international recoveries are transparently invested and monitored by civil society organisations to complete these three projects within the agreed timeline’’.

He urged the U.S. not to relent in supporting Nigeria’s commitment to the speedy, transparent management of returned assets.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, in her remarks, said the country seized the funds in response to General Abacha and his associates’ violation of U.S. laws by laundering these assets through the U.S. and into accounts in the UK.

“These actions were a flagrant breach of the Nigerian people’s trust, but today is the result of extensive and high-level cooperation between the U.S.,  the UK and Nigeria.

“This agreement is also a kind of collaboration that our government must continue in order to right the wrongs committed under the previous regimes’’.

Ms Leonard said this current repatriation would bring the total amount of funds repatriated to the country by the U.S. to more than $334.7 million.

“U.S. law enforcement will continue to deny safe havens for corrupt actors and their assets.

“As a partner deeply invested in Nigeria’s success, we will continue to do our part to facilitate the recovery and return of the proceeds of corruption to the Nigerian people,’’ she added. 

(NAN)

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