The Attorney-General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on Monday announced the Federal Government’s confirmation of receipt of $311 million of third tranche of General Sani Abacha loot from the United States.
Malami said the funds received from the US Island of Bailiwick of Jersey, which was $311, 797, 866.11, increased significantly due to the interest that accrued from February 3, 2020 to April 28, 2020 when the fund was transferred to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The AGF, in a statement by the media aide, Umar Gwandu, noted that the litigation process for the return of the assets titled “Abacha III” commenced in 2014; while the diplomatic process that culminated into the signing of the Asset Return Agreement on 3rd February, 2020 by the Governments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, United States of America and the Bailiwick of Jersey commenced in 2018.
“This agreement is based on international law and cooperation measures that sets out the procedures for the repatriation, transfer, disposition and management of the assets,” he said.
The statement further said the “recovery effort further consolidates on the established record of the administration of president Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government which has a history of recovery of $322m from Switzerland in 2018 which is being transparently and judiciously deployed in supporting indigent Nigerians as specified in the agreement signed with the Switzerland and the World Bank.”
“In line with the 2020 Asset Return Agreement, the fund has been transferred to a Central Bank of Nigeria Asset Recovery designated account and would be paid to the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) within the next fourteen days. The NSIA is responsible for the management and execution of the projects to which the funds will be applied,” he stated.
Malami said the government of Nigeria had committed that the assets would support and assist in expediting the construction of three major infrastructure projects across Nigeria, namely:
The Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, Abuja – Kano Road, and The Second Niger Bridge.
He said the Federal Republic of Nigeria was in the process of establishing a Project Monitoring Team to oversee the implementation of the projects and report regularly on progress made to the public.
“To ensure transparent management of the returned assets, the Nigerian government will also engage a civil society organisation, who has combined expertise in substantial infrastructure projects, civil engineering, anti-corruption compliance, anti-human trafficking compliance, and procurement to provide additional monitoring and oversight.
The process for the engagement of the CSO monitor has already commenced with the adverts placed in two Nigeria newspapers – Daily Trust and the Punch (4th March, 2020 and a Notice of Extension on 17th April, 2020), the Federal Tender Journal (9th and 23rd March,2020), the Economist (14th March, 2020). The advert can also be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Justice – www.justice.gov.ng
Malami called for greater cooperation and mutual respect amongst countries in the implementation of expeditious cooperation measures already set out in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and in the implementation of the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) principles on the repatriation of stolen assets.
He further assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would ensure that the returned assets were transparently managed.
“Information regarding the implementation of this project can be obtained by sending an email to: email@example.com”