Bagudu’s $100m not linked to $308m Abacha Loot Regime signed to recover — AGF, Malami

by on February 23, 2020

Attorney-General of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami says the recovered Abacha Loot will be used for infrastructural projects in the country.

He said the assets of Abubakar Bagudu, governor of Kebbi state, are not part of the Abacha Loot Nigeria is recovering overseas.

Malami said this in a statement on Saturday while reacting to the report that the regime is planning to pay Bagudu $100 million out of the recovered Abacha Loot.

But he was silent on whether the regime agreed to pay the governor $110 million from assets linked to him which Nigeria is seeking to recover before US and UK courts.

Bloomberg had reported that the payment was a part of the terms of a 2018 agreement signed between Bagudu and the federal government which kicks in after the country recovers €141 million ($155 million) worth of investment portfolios linked to governor’s family.

TheCable also obtained a court document detailing the agreement which was signed after the governor sued Nigeria for reportedly breaching a 2003 contract signed by the Obasanjo administration.

The 2003 agreement mandated Bagudu, who the US accused of aiding Abacha to loot Nigeria, to return some allegedly laundered funds to the federal government, and in turn “renounced any interest whatsoever” in his assets overseas.

In a statement by Umar Gwandu, the AGF’s spokesman, Malami said the assets are not covered under the agreement which the federal government signed to recover funds looted by Abacha.

He added that the Buhari administration remains committed to a “transparent management and utilisation of returned assets as well as independent asset recovery efforts”.

He said: “In the same manner that Nigeria is asserting its rights to the assets, there are others, including individuals, entities and countries who have rights and who have gone to court to contest the legality or otherwise of Nigeria’s claims against their assets.

“It is well known that the USA and the Bagudu family have been in court since 2014 over assets already rescinded under the 2003 Agreement. The matters are to be determined in the United Kingdom and the United States Courts. The Bagudu family assets in contention, which constitutes a distinct and separate cause of action, does not have anything to do with the assets already recovered and being recovered under the Abacha 2014 non-prosecution agreement.

“It is therefore mischievous and pedestrian for anyone to seek to turn the law and the facts on its head on the matter of repatriation whose terms are clearly spelt out and agreed among the parties.

“The government of Nigeria remains fully committed to continued cooperation with the United States of America and other countries in a reciprocal manner.”

Transparency International estimates Abacha might have looted as much as $5 billion during his regime from 1993 to 1998.

About $3.6 billion has so far been recovered out of that money.

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