AGF confirms receipt of $370 million Abacha loot
– AGF Malami has met with US and UK government officials over the of $500 million Abacha loot frozen by the American government
– Following the meeting, the Nigerian government agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK, US and Jersey on the return of the stolen public funds – Malami also confirmed that another $370 million Abacha loot had been returned by the Swiss government The federal government has met with top officials of the United Kingdom, United States of America and Jersey to work out modalities for the repatriation of $500 million Abacha loot frozen by the US government, Vanguard reports. Attorney-General of the Federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami; Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Justice George Oguntade; and lawyers employed by the federal government to recover stolen national funds kept abroad, met with US, UK and Jersey justice department officials on Monday, June 18.
the meeting, which took place at the Nigerian High Commission in London, the AGF disclosed that Nigeria had agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK, US and Jersey on the return of the stolen public funds.
He said: “At our meeting in London today, we reviewed the MoU to be signed by Nigeria, US, UK and Jersey and made collective input into it so that at our next and final meeting in July, we can sign the document and agree on the final draw-down of the money.
“Indeed, Nigeria has made tremendous progress regarding the repatriation of the cash. Right now, the case filed by a Nigerian lawyer claiming to be entitled to a huge percentage of the amount from the Abacha loot has been dismissed by the Appeal Court; but he can still appeal if he wants to. “But our strong conviction is that the money will be drawn down for the benefit of the country, and we are working hard to ensure that it is done as soon as possible by taking the necessary legal and diplomatic steps to deal with it.” An international forfeiture order on the Abacha loot had previously been obtained by the US government; but the country is now willing to lift the embargo, in order to allow Nigeria get the cash back.
Malami proceeded to Switzerland after the UK meeting, to meet with Swiss government officials, in respect of another Abacha loot repatriation. The AGF also confirmed that the $370 million Abacha loot which had earlier been negotiated between the federal government and the Swiss authorities had since been transferred to the Central Bank of Nigeria; even though he did not disclose how much is involved in the new round of discussions.
The money was part of the huge sums stolen by late head of state Sani Abacha, who died 20 years ago. Making the disclosure while briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, AGF Abubakar Malami, said the move was the fallout of negotiations between the federal government and the three countries.