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Punch notes that on Monday, the Federal Government reported the $311 m receipt stolen by late military dictator Gen. Sani Abacha. In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Federation Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami said that approximately $311,797,866.11 of the Abacha loot had been repatriated from the US and Jersey. According to Malami, the amount increased significantly from over $308 million as stated in a February press release to over $311 million due to the interest accrued from February 3, 2020, to April 28, 2020, when the fund was transferred to Nigeria’s central bank.
The AGF stated that the legal procedure for the return of these properties dubbed “Abacha III” started in 2014, while the diplomatic process resulted in the Nigerian, US, and Jersey governments signing the Asset Return Agreement on February 3, 2020, which started in 2018.
“This agreement is based on international law and mechanisms of cooperation defining procedures for the repatriation, transfer, disposal, and management of assets,” he said.
According to the statement, the recovery effort further consolidates the existing record of the President’s regime, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), which has a history of recovery of $322 million from Switzerland in 2018 that is being deployed transparently and judiciously in support of indigent Nigerians as set out in the agreement signed with Switzerland and the World Bank
The minister, who headed the negotiation team, noted that the Tripartite Agreement and the implementation process represents a significant milestone in International Asset Recovery and Repatriation as it aims to bring benefits to the corruption victims.
He said, “In line with the 2020 Asset Return Agreement, the fund was transferred to an account allocated for Central Bank of Nigeria Asset Recovery and will be paid to the National Sovereign Investment Authority over the next 14 days. The NSIA is responsible for overseeing and executing the programs to which the funds will be applied.
Malami added that the Federal Government had dedicated the funds to finance and help accelerate the development of three major infrastructure projects across Nigeria, including the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Road, and the Second Niger Bridge.