Nigeria has accused the United States of America (USA) of unwilling to return the $550 million loot recovered from the family of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.
The allegation was made on Thursday in Abuja by the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, at a media conference on asset recovery and asset return jointly organised by PACAC and the office of the Senior Special Assistance to the President of Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora.
Sagay said: “Nigeria at present stands to lose another $550 million recovered from the Abacha family to the US contrary to the earlier promise by Washington to return same to Nigeria.”
He said that the amount was different from the earlier $480 million forfeited to the US following a court judgment in August 2014.
The PACAC boss said that the stringent conditions being given by the countries, particularly the US in which some of the nation’s stolen wealth is stashed, contradicted the earlier promises.
He expressed worry on the challenge being faced by the country on the tracing, seizure, forfeiture and return of Nigeria’s assets laundered outside the country.
Sagay blamed the challenge to stringent conditions being given and other uncooperative nature of the countries in possession of the stolen funds.
“Out of the Abacha loot for instance, Switzerland seized over $505.5 million between 2004 and 2006. The UK recovered $2.7 million from the late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha’s account in London and his home and other real estate as at 2005 was estimated at over $15 million.
“On the 6th of August, 2014, US District Judge, John D. Bates of the District of Columbia declared forfeited the sum of $480 million from the money recovered from the Abacha’s family in the US,” he said.
According him, these funds are just a fraction of Nigeria’s stolen wealth stashed away in foreign countries which can be traced.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, called for unconditional return of Nigerian looted fund.