U.S returns another $20m Abacha loot to Nigeria

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The United States has returned to the Nigerian government over $20.6 million in assets linked to the late former Military Head of State, General Sani Abacha, and his associates.

The United States Department of Justice in a statement on Thursday, November 16, said the money was transferred in accordance with an August 23 agreement between both countries.

“The repatriation brings the total amount forfeited and returned by the US in this case to approximately $332.4m. In 2020, the department repatriated over $311.7m of the forfeited assets that had been located in the Bailiwick of Jersey. Last year, the United Kingdom enforced the US judgment against the additional $20.6m.

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In 2014, a judgment was entered in the District of Columbia ordering the forfeiture of approximately $500m located in accounts around the world, as the result of a civil forfeiture complaint for more than $625m traceable to money laundering involving the proceeds of Abacha’s corr¥ption.

The forfeited assets represent corr¥pt 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 de@th on June 8, 1998.

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Under the agreement signed in August, the United States agreed to transfer 100% of the net forfeited assets to Nigeria to support three critical infrastructure projects in Nigeria that were previously authorized by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian legislature.

The $20,637,622.27 marks a slight reduction from the $23 million announced in August due primarily to exchange rate fluctuations between British pounds sterling and U.S. dollars.

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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 statement reads in part.

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