Abacha’s loot repatriated by the US

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The United States has  repatriated  over $308 million looted by Sani Abacha, Nigerians former head of state.

Nigerian signed the agreement  on Monday with Mark Temple, the solicitor-general and attorney-general designate of Jersey on behalf of Jersey, Brian Benczkowski, a deputy assistant attorney on behalf of the United States, and Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation .

The sum was recovered in 2013, but the collection process was stalled following a law suit by the Abacha family.

This Agreement represents the culmination of two decades of intensive work by law officers in Jersey, the United States and Nigeria. The return of the assets to Nigeria had been delayed by a number of hard-fought challenges by third parties which were defeated in the courts in Jersey and the United States,” Temple said.

The loot  was laundered through by the  US bank system and then held in bank accounts in Jersey in the name of Doraville Properties Corporation, a BVI company, and in the name of the son of the former Head of State of Nigeria, General Sani Abacha.

A  joint statement by the countries involved Nigeria and the United States says: “Is a result of extensive co-operation between the Jersey authorities, the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the United States Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with crucial assistance from other governments around the world.


“At the time the case was filed as part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative in 2013, it was the largest U.S. kleptocracy forfeiture action ever commenced.


“In 2014, the Attorney-General of Jersey applied for and was granted a Property Restraint Order over the Jersey bank account balance of Doraville. This was challenged in the Royal Court of Jersey and Court of Appeal, and an application for permission to appeal to the Privy Council by Doraville was refused. France and the United Kingdom restrained additional funds at U.S. request.


“General Abacha and his associates stole and laundered many hundreds of millions of dollars of public money during his military regime, doing vast harm to the futures of his own people.


“The monies were laundered by his family, including his sons Ibrahim and Mohammed, and a number of close associates. The laundering operation extended to the United States and European jurisdictions such as the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Luxembourg.


“In 2018, Governments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, United States of America and the Bailiwick of Jersey commenced the negotiation of the procedures for the repatriation, transfer, disposition and management of the assets. The tripartite agreement signed this week represents a major watershed in international cooperation in asset recovery and repatriation, and will provide benefit to people throughout Nigeria.


“The projects on which the funds will be expended will be administered by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and independently audited.


“The Federal Republic of Nigeria will establish a monitoring team to oversee the implementation of the projects and to report regularly on progress.


“The Nigerian Government in consultation with the other oarties, will also engage civil society organisations, who have expertise in substantial infrastructure projects, civil engineering, anti-corruption compliance, anti-human trafficking compliance, and procurement to provide additional monitoring and oversight.”

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