Another $319m Abacha loot in UK, France, says U.S.

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THE United States Embassy in Nigeria has confirmed the existence of another $319 million (about N124.4 billion) looted by former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha.

According to the U.S., the funds are in the United Kingdom (UK) and France.

The revelation came three days after the Federal Government received $311 million repatriated “Abacha loot” from the US and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

In a statement titled: “Return of stolen assets to the Nigerian people’, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria revealed that there is a separate $167 million in stolen assets in France and another $152 million in the UK which is still subject to litigation.

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“The funds returned last week are distinct and separate from an additional $167 million in stolen assets also forfeited in the United Kingdom and France, as well as $152 million still in active litigation in the United Kingdom.” the statement said.

The embassy gave details on the usage of the newly repatriated funds to Nigeria, disclosing that the funds will be used for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across Nigeria.

It reads: “On May 1, the transfer of $311,797,876 from the United States Government to the Federal Republic of Nigeria was completed in accordance with a February 3, 2020 trilateral agreement among the governments of the United States, Nigeria and the Bailiwick of Jersey to repatriate assets the United States forfeited that were traceable to the former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and his co-conspirators.”

The statement by the embassy said: “These funds will be used by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across Nigeria, as authorised by the Nigerian government.

“The recovered funds will help finance the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano road. These investments will support Nigeria’s economic development and benefit all of the Nigerian people. The agreement includes mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of these projects as well as external oversight.

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“The transfer of funds is an important first step in the disciplined implementation of the agreement. Nigeria’s continued vigilance, transparency, and accountability will ensure continued progress in the implementation. The United States looks forward to continuing to work with the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its civil society partners to combat corruption and to ensure a successful outcome in the return of these funds. The fight against corruption is an investment in the future of Nigeria.”

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