The Federal Government is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Island of Jersey and the United States to repatriate looted assets. To this end, the federal cabinet yesterday asked the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to sign tripartite assets sharing agreement on behalf of the country to repatriate additional $321m (N116.04bn) looted by the Late former military Head of State, Sani Abacha.
Malami, who briefed State House correspondents after a seven-hour first FEC meeting in 2020 chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, said the funds would be used to finance Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Expressway, and the Second Niger Bridge. He said the MoU expected to be signed next week would also cover assets or funds recovered from James Ibori, Diezani Allison-Madueke, and Kola Aluko among others.
He said: “It is in line with that spirit of aggressive recovery of looted assets that the office of attorney general has been pursuing the recovery of looted assets. We have overtime been discussing with other jurisdictions including Island of Jersey and the United States among for the purpose of the repatriation of looted assets connected to Abacha family, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Kolawole Aluko among others.
“It is within this contest that we have now come to terms with this jurisdiction – Island of Jersey, United States of America and indeed Nigeria by way of negotiating for the repatriation of a sizable assets.
“As it is, we have concluded on the understanding that the sum of $321 million will be repatriated in due course inclusive of James Ibori assets as well. “So, we are hopeful that by next week, we will sign the agreement for the looted assets. The assets that are going to be repatriated is located and in the custody of Island of Jersey.
But the United States of America came on board because it has obtained an order for forfeiture against the assets, considering that the medium of exchange used in the looting the assets is the US dollar. Arising from that, the three jurisdictions will naturally be factored into the repatriation processes. “So, the amount upon signing the MoU will be remitted from the Inland of Jersey within a number of days agreed upon. Within 28 days, the money will be repatriated from the Island of Jersey to the United States of America.
And thereafter within 45 days, it is agreed by the parties that the United States of America will make the necessary arrangement for the eventual repatriation to the Nigerian state. “This is where we are. The council has looked into the negotiated MoU that is expected to be signed that will now lay foundation for the eventual repatriation of the money.
The council has graciously approved the execution of the agreement. The council instructed the attorney general of the federation to be a signatory to that MoU in preparation of the repatriation of the funds.” When asked about the figure of the amount to be repatriated attached to each individual mentioned, Malami said: “The immediate figure for repatriation as relates to the agreement expected to be signed next week is $321 million. The $321 million expected to be repatriated is attached to Abacha and is named Abacha loot.
“As it relates to James Ibori, expected amount is €6,863,977.12. But the repatriation of same is being negotiated and processed. On the sharing agreement, the minister said, “America and the Island of Jersey are simply entitled to administrative cost, associated with the management of funds.
So, $10 million was indeed what was earmarked to the two countries and the balance of $321 million is coming to Nigeria.” Speaking on the difference between this Abacha loot and the one linked to the Swiss authorities, he said: “That of the Swiss authorities was $322 million and has been fully repatriated and applied in the funding of the budget over the time. So, this is distinct and separate amount.”