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US unwilling to return $550m Abacha loot – Presidency reveals

 

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.”

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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.

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“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.

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