According to the US Department of Justice, more than $20.6 million has been given to the Federal Government in compliance with a deal reached on August 23 between the two nations to return assets that the late dictator General Sani Abacha and his accomplices had stolen.
According to a statement published on the DoJ’s website on Thursday, the repatriation brings the total amount forfeited and returned by the US in this case to approximately $332.4m.
The agency returned about $311.7 million in confiscated property that was found in the Bailiwick of Jersey in 2020.
The forfeited assets represent corrupt monies laundered during and after the military regime of Abacha, who became Head of State through a military coup on November 17, 1993, and held that position until his death on June 8, 1998.
The statement read in part, “The United Kingdom’s cooperation in the investigation, restraint, and enforcement of the US judgment, along with the valuable contributions of Nigeria and other law enforcement partners around the world, including the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency, as well as those of the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, have been instrumental to the recovery of these funds.
“Under the agreement signed in August, the United States agreed to transfer 100 per cent of the net forfeited assets to Nigeria to support three critical infrastructure projects in Nigeria that were previously authorised by Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, and the Nigerian legislature.
‘’The $20,637,622.27 marks a slight reduction from the $23m announced in August due primarily to exchange rate fluctuations between British pounds sterling and US dollars. The funds governed by this agreement will help finance the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and the Abuja-Kano road – investments that will benefit the citizens of each of these important regions in Nigeria.
The department appreciated the extensive assistance provided by the governments of the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Jersey, and France in the investigation.
It further stated that a group of committed prosecutors from the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section brought the case as part of the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative in collaboration with the FBI.