FG to repatriate additional $321m Abacha loot

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the commencement of the repatriation of stolen assets from the United States.

The agreement on the repatriation of looted funds is expected to be signed next week while the looted assets of $321 million allegedly belonging to late General Sani Abacha are also expected to be repatriated from the Island of Jersey.

Briefing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said that other assets to be repatriated include that of former Minister for Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Kolawole Aluko and James Ibori, who was governor of Delta State from 1999 to 2007 put at €6.6 million.

The Minister explained that after the tripartite agreement is signed, it will take 28 days for the money to be transferred from Jessie Island to the US and it will take 45 days for the money to be transferred from the US to the Nigerian government after due diligence.

According to him, it has been agreed on terms that Jessie Island and the US will share $10 million bringing the total anoint of the looted fund to $331 million.

Malami said that the Council approved the asset sharing tripartite agreement between Nigeria, Island of Jersey and the United States of America for the purpose of repatriation of looted assets.

He said during President Buhari’s first term, his administration succeeded in the recovery of looted asset by over 1,300 percent.

He further explained that based on the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, reached by the three parties, the money would be spent on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the 2nd Niger Bridge and the Abuja-Kano Expressway.

Malami, however, explained that no figure had been placed on the Alison-Madueke asset to be repatriated.

He said, ”Council approved the asset sharing tripartite agreement between Nigeria, Island of Jersey and the United States of America for the purpose of repatriation of looted assets.

“It is in line with that spirit of aggressive recovery of looted assets that the office of attorney general has been pursuing the recovery of looted assets. We have overtime been discussing with other jurisdictions including Island of Jersey and the United States among for the purpose of the repatriation of looted assets connected to Abacha family, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Kolawole Aluko among others.

It is within this contest that we have now come to terms with this jurisdiction – Island of Jersey, United States of America and indeed Nigeria by way of negotiating for the repatriation of sizable assets.

As it is, we have concluded on the understanding that the sum of $321 million will be repatriated in due course inclusive of James Ibori assets as well.

“So, we are hopeful that by next week we will sign the agreement for the looted assets. The assets that are going to be repatriated is located and in the custody of Island of Jersey.

“But the United States of America came on board because it has obtained an order for forfeiture against the assets, considering that the medium of exchange used in the looting the assets is the US dollar.

“Arising from that the three jurisdictions will naturally be factored into the repatriation processes.

“So the amount upon signing the MOU will be remitted from the Inland of Jersey within a number of days agreed upon, Within 28 days, the money will be repatriated from the Island of Jersey to the United States and thereafter within 45 days, it is agreed by the parties that the United States will make the necessary arrangement for the eventual repatriation to the Nigerian state.

“This is where we are. The council has looked into the negotiated MOU that is expected to be signed that will now lay a foundation for the eventual repatriation of the money.

“The council has graciously approved the execution of the agreement. The council instructed the attorney general of the federation to be a signatory to that MOU in preparation of the repatriation of the funds.”

Asked on what was the figure of the amount to be repatriated attached to each individual mentioned earlier, he said, ” The immediate figure for repatriation as relates to the agreement expected to be signed next week is $321 million.

“The government has given commitment that the proceeds of the looted recovery should be applied to Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Abuja-Kano road and the 2nd Niger Bridge.

“The $321 million expected to be repatriated is attached to Abacha and is named Abacha loot.

“As it relates to James Ibori, the expected amount is €6,863,977.12. But the repatriation of same is being negotiated and processed.

“In respect of Diezani Alison-Madueke, Kolawole Aluko, what is on ground is a yacht, known as Galactica Star. It has been sold the proceeds is yet to be fully agreed upon. So we will disclose the amount when it is finally agreed upon.”

On whether there a difference between this Abacha loot and the one linked to the Swiss authorities, Malami said, “That of the Swiss authorities was $322 million and has been fully repatriated and applied in the funding of the budget over the time. So this is a distinct and separate amount.

What is the sharing agreement of the Abacha loot?

America and the Island of Jersey are simply entitled to administrative cost, associated with the management of funds. So $10 million was indeed what was earmarked to the two countries and the balance of $321 million is coming to Nigeria.”

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