Revealed: US names more countries where Abacha’s loot is kept

Barely one week after the return of $311million Abacha loot to the Nigerian government, the government of the United States of America has said another $152 million of the loot was still under litigation in the United Kingdom.

The cash, the United States Mission in Nigeria said, was distinct and separate from an additional $167 million in stolen assets also forfeited in the United Kingdom and France.

On the repatriation of the funds to Nigeria, the mission, in a  statement on its verified twitter handle, @USEmbassyAbuja, said this was  a major first step in the  disciplined  implementation  of the agreement between both countries.

The statement, said: “On May 1, the transfer of $311,797,876 from the United States Government to the Federal Republic of Nigeria was completed in accordance with a February 3, 2020 trilateral agreement among the governments of the United States, Nigeria and the Bailiwick of Jersey to repatriate assets the United States forfeited that were traceable to the former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and his co-conspirators. 

 “These funds will be used by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across Nigeria, as authorized by the Nigerian government.

“The recovered funds will help finance the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano road.  

“These investments will support Nigeria’s economic development and benefit all of the Nigerian people. The agreement includes mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of these projects as well as external oversight.

“The funds returned last week are distinct and separate from an additional $167 million in stolen assets also forfeited in the United Kingdom and France, as well as $152 million still in active litigation in the United Kingdom.”

It further said the United States would continue to help “combat corruption and to ensure a successful outcome in the return of these funds.”

However, it’s not clear if the $152million under litigation in the UK was the same with $152million (now $155m following interest accrual) being challenged by both the UK and the US in a British court.  

The legal tussle centres around the alleged plan by the Nigerian government to cede $110million of the money to be repatriated to Nigeria to Kebbi state Governor Atiku Bagudu, believed to be financial adviser to the family of the late head of state.

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