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US Cites ‘Corruption’ As Reason Why Abacha Loot Can’t Be Release To Nigeria Government

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The United States government has cited ‘corruption’ as reason why the $300million loot stashed in Jersey, an island in the United Kingdom by the late military dictator, Gen Sani Abacha can be release the manner the Nigeria government is going about it.

Fire brand rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) alluded to this at a seminar organised by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), with the theme: “Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the Recovery of Stolen Assets in Nigeria: Proposals for Reform”, which was packaged in collaboration with the Ford Foundation, USA.

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THEWILL reported that Falana specifically identified the US as the country concerned as he accused the United States, Switzerland, the UK and other western nations of hypocritical behaviour in Nigeria’s quest to recover loot stashed in their banks.

“Nigeria traced part of the Abacha loot (over $300m) 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,” he said.

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

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“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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“From five cycles of independent audit reports covering 1999-2012 the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative revealed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, some oil companies and certain agencies of the Federal Government have withheld $20.2 billion from the Federation Account.

“In 2006, the Central Bank of Nigeria removed $7 billion from the nation’s external reserves and placed same as deposit in 14 Nigerian banks. In 2008, the Bank gave a bailout of N600 billion ($4 billion) to the same banks. Up till now the CBN has failed to recover the said sum of $11 billion from the banks.

“On September 6, 2016 the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) announced that arrangements had been concluded to recover the sum of $9.6 billion in over-deducted tax benefits from joint venture partners on major capital projects and oil swap contracts. The NNPC is said to have recovered the said sum of $9.6 billion but has not remitted same into the Federation Account.”

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However, EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujeren explained that the government of Jersey Island insisted that the Abacha loot would not be released to Nigeria if a third party representation is brought into the picture.

The Honourable Minister and Attorney General  of Jersey Island, Robert J. MacRae QC stated this on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 during the on going 7th Session of  Conference of  State Parties  to the  United Nations Convention Against Corruption, holding in Vienna, Austria.

MacRae spoke at a side meeting with the  Nigeria delegation led by acting Chairman  of the Economic  and  Financial  Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.

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The Jersey Attorney General expressly stated that negotiations in respect of repatriation of the USD300 million being part of the Abacha involving Jersy, Nigeria and the United States, “must be government to government cooperation”.

The EFCC was accompanied to the meeting by four members of the Nigeria delegation.

It was said that America prevented judgement by telling a court that it had an interest in the loot because it was saved in its currency, the US dollar

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