Looted funds in the US will be returned back to Nigeria – Kerry

by on April 1, 2016

United States Secretary of State, John Kerry has assured that the US will assist Nigeria in the recovery of stolen assets stashed in the American banking system. Kerry made the assurance yesterday during a formal meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Washington DC.
A statement by Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina said John Kerry’s followed Buhari’s request to Mr. Kerry to assist him with the recovery of stolen funds in order to fast-track development in Nigeria, saying, “it will greatly help our country if you assist us to recover all our stolen funds which we can establish to be within your financial system.”
Mr. Kerry then reassured Buhari of the US’s capability to provide assistance to Nigeria, noting that, “it’s not easy to hide that amount of money and we are pretty good in tracing them.” He also said that US officials would meet with the Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, to deepen these discussions.
The EFCC boss and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN are in the US to meet with government officials on the recovery of looted funds, including the $2 billion Malabu oil scandal, the $180 million Halliburton scandal, and other assets domiciled in the US.
On the 2016 estimates, President Muhammadu Buhari said he will “critically review the appropriation bill passed by the National Assembly before assenting to it.”
According to a statement issued by Femi Adesina, Buhari made the statement while speaking in Washington DC yesterday at a meeting with John Kerry, United States Secretary of State.
The president said that in view of the controversial alteration and padding of the budget proposals, he needed to review the appropriation bill to be certain that its contents tallied with the authentic budget proposal presented to the National Assembly.
“Some bureaucrats removed what we put in the proposal and replaced it with what they wanted. I have to look at the bill that has been passed by the national assembly, ministry by ministry, to be sure that what has been brought back for me to sign is in line with our original submission,” he said.
Declaring that his administration would continue to vigorously prosecute its war against corruption, Buhari sought and received an assurance from Kerry that the United States government would facilitate the repatriation of all stolen Nigerian funds found within the American banking system.
“It will greatly help our country if you assist us to recover all our stolen funds which we can establish to be within your financial system,” the president told Kerry.
Responding, the Secretary of State said he had been told that the stolen Nigerian funds were in ‘billions of dollars’.
“It’s not easy to hide that amount of money and we are pretty good in tracing them,” Kerry assured Buhari, adding that relevant the United States government officials would meet with the chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to discuss further cooperation in that regard.
Kerry applauded the Buhari administration’s success in rolling back the Boko Haram insurgency, saying that the United States would continue to give Nigeria all possible support to ensure that the sect is finally eliminated as a threat to national and regional security.
The secretary of state also praised Buhari’s clear order that Nigeria’s armed forces must show greater regard for the human rights of persons in the theatre of operations against Boko Haram.
Acknowledging that the United States has been of great help to his administration in the retraining and re-equipping of the Nigeria armed forces that has resulted in the significant success already achieved against Boko Haram, Buhari said that the federal government was now working very hard to restore full normalcy in the north eastern states.
“Boko Haram no longer holds any local government area. We are reconstructing damaged facilities and preparing the police to take over and reassert civilian control over areas affected by the insurgency,” the president told Kerry.

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