Missing £22.5 million Abacha loot: Ex-Finance minister to be quizzed

Following the agreement between the government of Nigeria and that of the United States over the return of $480 million looted by the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha – a former Minister of Finance might be summoned for questioning over another £22.5 million Abacha loot.

According to The Nation, the said money was discovered from the Island of Jersey by the Jonathan administration.

The AGF then opened talks with the government of the Island of Jersey, who cooperated with the Nigerian government.

However, the money is said to have disappeared without a trace after it was repatriated.

According to a source privy to the situation, the federal government has open investigation into the missing money.

It is, however, unclear if the money was remitted to the federal government account or if it was used by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

“These suspects said the government of the Island of Jersey actually requested for a dedicated account from the Federal Government through the foreign lawyer to pay in the Abacha loot.”

“Even the Island of Jersey can assist the Nigerian government on the account the loot was lodged into if it was not a private one.”
Another source explained that a former Minister of Finance might be quizzed over the whereabouts of the £22.5m loot.”

“There was certainly a communication between the Government of the Island of Jersey and a former Minister of Finance. The EFCC investigators are probing whether the cash was actually repatriated into the government’s coffers or diverted into a personal account.”

“During the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, the ex-Minister was said to have declared that the money had been spent. The records of the transactions are not just there at all. This development has created much suspicion on the whereabouts of the Abacha loot.”

“The EFCC might interrogate the ex-Minister if it cannot trace the records of the repatriation of the loot.”

Speaking on the recovered loot from the USA, the Attorney-General and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami, stated that the money has been cleared by the US government.

Malami explained how he and the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, had negotiated with US officials.

“We are hopeful that we will soon get the $480million. There are limited things to be put in place by both the U.S. and Nigeria and things are working according to plans.”

“To get to this stage, we agreed that any legal impediments should be eliminated. We opened talks with a Nigerian lawyer in the U.S. who had a matter in court over the Abacha funds and the lawyer has keyed into the repatriation process because of the potential benefits to the nation.”

“So far, we have cleared the legal hurdles; we will soon have the funds repatriated. Although you can be in control of your own end, the U.S. has also shown tremendous understanding.”

The AGF further explained how the deal was struck: “It all borders on the appreciation of the anti-corruption agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari by the international community.”

“We had fruitful engagement with the U.S. and they showed much understanding. We said the perception at home was that the U.S. was becoming a safe haven for corrupt public office holders. And they proved to us that they are committed to the anti-corruption campaign.”

“We told them if we can have understanding with Switzerland and the UAE, they should trust us and support the Federal Government to repatriate these looted funds.”

“Therefore, it involved a lot of solicitation, understanding and trust. At the end of the bilateral agreement, the U.S. agreed to release the $480m to us.”

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