20171115

Why US Has Refused To Release Abacha Loot To Nigeria

Hundreds of millions of dollars stashed away by the government of the late General Sani Abacha has been claimed by the United States government. 

Abubakar Malami, minister of justice and attorney-general of the federation, made this revelation.

He spoke at a seminar organised by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP). 

According to The Nation, it was reported that the US told an unnamed country that it had an interest in the loot because it was saved in its currency, the US dollar. Mr Abiodun Aikomo who represented the minister gave this hint when he spoke against Nigerian officials ferrying money abroad.

He said: “We have seen instances where the Federal Government of Nigeria engaged counsel to recover our stolen assets and the matter went on for many years.

“On the eve of a judgment, the government of a country filed an application for joinder, this was a matter that was on for seven years and judgment was going to be delivered the next day.

“The government of the country filed, saying ‘Even though the money is not kept in our bank, even though you would think we do not have any connection with the funds, the money is in our currency and we are talking about hundreds of millions in our currency. So, if you’re moving those funds from our state, then we are interested.’

“That was how the judgment was more or less arrested. So, the people stealing money and taking it out of Nigeria are doing us a lot of evil, because the moment the money leaves Nigeria it assumes another dimension.” 

Femi Falana who was also at the programme identified the US as the country that has made it difficult for Nigeria to get the loot.

He said: “Nigeria traced part of the Abacha loot to Jersey, an island in the United Kingdom. The Attorney-General filed a process to – by the way I was in that country when the person was convicted – the money left Nigeria through Kenya and landed in Jersey. It was from the late Abacha.

“Nigeria wanted to collect the remaining loot. But the United States filed an objection saying the money could not be released to Nigeria.

“The court asked why, the US said if the money must be released, it should be released to the US government, so that ‘we can manage it for Nigeria.’

“The other one, $321million, Switzerland, a notorious conduit for corruption, had the temerity to say that ‘unless the World Bank is going to manage this money, we are not going to release this money.'”

“The United Nations Convention Against Corruption has made adequate provisions against corruption mandating countries to assist each other but western countries have not been helping us. Our government should stop relying on the west.”

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