The United States has exposed an alleged plot by the federal government to give $100 million from the recovered Sani Abacha loot to Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu.
Aside this, the U.S. is also asking Nigerians to help recover alleged stolen finds traced to Bagudu, the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors Forum.
Bloomberg reports that there has been commitment by Nigeria to transfer the funds to the governor, whom the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) says was involved in corruption with Abacha.
The U.S. and Nigeria recently agreed on the repatriation of over $308million to the African nation.
The U.S. Department of Justice believes Nigeria is blocking U.S. efforts to recover allegedly laundered money traced to Bagudu.
The department in a statement on February 3, disclosed that Bagudu was part of Abacha network that “embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions from the government of Nigeria.”
But the Buhari administration allegedly insisted that an existing 17-year-old agreement entitles Bagudu to a fraction of the repatriated funds.
This argument was contained in recent filings from the District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington.
It recalled that in 2013, the U.S., following a Nigerian government request in 2012, initiated a forfeiture action, including four investment portfolios held in London in trust for Bagudu and his family.
Now, the Buhari government says it cannot assist because it is legally bound by a settlement Bagudu reached with the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2003, according to the court filings.
Under the terms approved by a U.K. court, Bagudu returned $163 million of alleged laundered money to the Nigerian government, which then dropped all outstanding civil and criminal claims against him.
This information was contained in a December 23, 2019, memorandum opinion by District Judge John D. Bates in Washington D.C.
“This case illustrates how complex and contentious repatriating stolen assets to Nigeria can be,” said Matthew Page, an associate fellow at London-based Chatham House
The former Nigeria expert for U.S. intelligence agencies added that instead of welcoming U.S. efforts, “Nigeria’s lawyers appear to be supporting the interests of one of the country’s most powerful families.”
Successive Nigerian governments have so far repatriated more than $2 billion out of the $5billion Transparency International estimated Abacha stole.School closed? Get access to Complete Secondary School Education (JSS1-SS3) CLICK HERE!
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