Press "Enter" to skip to content

U.S. Repatriates over $311.7 million Stolen Assets to Nigeria

The Department of Justice announced that it has transferred $311,797,876.11 to the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Nigeria) in accordance with a Feb. 3, 2020, trilateral agreement among the governments of the United States, Nigeria and the Bailiwick of Jersey (Jersey) to repatriate assets the United States forfeited that were traceable to the kleptocracy of former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and his co-conspirators. 

In 2014, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates for the District of Columbia entered judgment forfeiting approximately $500 million located in accounts around the world, as the result of a civil forfeiture complaint the Department of Justice filed against more than $625 million traceable to money laundering involving the proceeds of Abacha’s corruption.  After appeals in the United States were exhausted in 2018, the government of Jersey enforced the U.S. judgment against the funds located in that jurisdiction.

The forfeited assets represent corrupt monies laundered during and after the military regime of General Abacha, who assumed the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through a military coup on Nov. 17, 1993, and held that position until his death on June 8, 1998.

The report notes that complaint alleges that General Abacha, his son Mohammed Sani Abacha, their associate Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and others embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions from the government of Nigeria and others, then laundered their criminal proceeds through U.S. financial institutions and the purchase of bonds backed by the United States.

Jersey’s cooperation in the investigation, restraint and enforcement of the U.S. judgment, along with the valuable contributions of Nigeria and other law enforcement partners around the world, have been instrumental to the recovery of these funds.

Under the trilateral agreement signed in February, the United States and Jersey agreed to transfer 100 percent of the net forfeited assets to the Federal Republic of Nigeria to support three critical infrastructure projects previously authorized by the Nigerian government.

Specifically, under this agreement, the recovered funds will help finance the construction of critical infrastructure in key economic zones to include the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano road.  These investments will benefit all of the Nigerian people.

In addition to the more than $311.7 million forfeited in Jersey, the Department of Justice is seeking to enforce its forfeiture judgment against approximately $30 million located in the UK and over $144 million in France. The United States continues to seek forfeiture of over $177 million in additional laundered funds held in trusts that name Abacha associate Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, the current governor of Kebbi State, and his relatives as beneficiaries.

Nigerian Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, made the confirmation in a statement issued by Dr Umar Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations on Monday in Abuja.

“The amount increased from over 308 million US dollars mentioned in the press release issued in February to 311,797,866.11 million dollars following the accrued interest from Feb. 3 until April 28 when the fund was transferred to the Central Bank of Nigeria”, Malami said.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.