Nigeria to receive another $500 million Abacha loot – Malami
– Another $500 million loot from United Kingdom, United States and France is expected back in the country – This was confirmed by the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday, June 13 The Federal Executive Council (FEC) rose from its weekly meeting in the State House Abuja on Wednesday, June 13, informing Nigerians of the forthcoming repatriation of $500 million loot from the United Kingdom, United States and France to Nigeria. The money was part of the huge sums stolen by Nigeria’s former dictator, Late General Sani Abacha, who died 20 years ago. Making the disclosure while briefing journalists at the end of the meeting, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and minister of justice, Malam Abubakar Malami, said the move was the fallout of negotiations between the federal government and the three countries.
According to him, the expected sum is coming barely a few months after the repatriation of $322 million Abacha loot to Nigeria from Switzerland following an agreement signed by Nigeria and Switzerland. Malami, who said the processes leading to the repatriation and the aftermath were reported to the council Wednesday, also disclosed that the council approved the payment of N500 million as legal fee to lawyers engaged in the litigation between the federal government and telecommunications firm, MTN over the N1 trillion fine imposed on the latter by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).
His words: “The council approved the payment of professional fees to lawyers engaged by the federal government relating to the MTN case instituted against the federal government in pursuance of penalty of over N1 trillion imposed by the government on MTN. “MTN, as you will recall, instituted a case seeking to retrain the federal government from recovering the over N1 trillion imposed on it. The federal government engaged the services of lawyers to put up defence on its behalf. As a result, the case was eventually settled by the parties amicably and arising from that settlement the lawyers were entitled to their fees.
“The federal government has now sanctioned the payment of N500 million for the N330 billion agreed upon for the alleged certain breaches in their operations. This amount is less than one per cent of the fee instead of the internationally recognised fee which is pegged at five per cent. “Finally was a report on the global forum on assets recovery. You will recall that in December 2017, the federal government participated in global forum on asset recovery in Washington DC and during that forum, Nigeria and Switzerland signed agreement that paved the way for the repatriation of $322 million relating to looted assets and on the account of that the amount was eventually repatriated back to Nigeria.
“What transpired was only reported back to the council today. The report today was not only about the signing of the agreement but the report of the eventual repatriation of the amount of money that was signed and agreed to be repatriated during the forum. “Nigeria has also engaged other countries including the UK, US, France and others in further negotiations relating to repatriation and I am happy to report that we are almost concluding the processes relating to the repatriation of additional $500 million.”
Meanwhile, four months ago, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) begun an investigation to uncover how over the sum of $500 million recovered from Abacha’s family was diverted. The cash was repatriated from slush accounts of Abacha in foreign banks after hard negotiations by the federal government during the Jonathan administration.