U.S. blocking return of $550m Abacha loot

Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay on Thursday said Nigeria is on the verge of losing another $550 million recovered from the Abacha family to the United States.

Sagay made the disclosure at a media conference on asset recovery jointly organised by PACAC and the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora.

“Nigeria presently stands to lose another S550 million  recovered from the Abacha family to the U.S., contrary to the earlier promise by the U.S. to return same to Nigeria,” he said.

Sagay said the amount was different from the $480 million forfeited to the U.S. following a court judgment in August 2014.

He bemoaned the situation where countries in which the nation’s stolen wealth was stashed give stringent conditions for repatriation.

“Out of the Abacha loot for instance, Switzerland seized over $505.5m between 2004 and 2006. The UK recovered $2.7m from Alamieyeseigha’s account in London in 2005.

“Alamieyeseigha’s home and other real estate as at 2005 was estimated at over $15m,’’ Sagay said.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, called for the unconditional return of Nigeria’s looted fund.

She decried the uncooperative attitude of the countries where the stolen funds were being stashed.

“America has over $400m that have been officially recovered as stolen funds from Nigeria.

“But America is keeping the funds.  They are telling us about technicalities; they are saying we recovered doesn’t mean we can return.

“We want every Nigerian in Diaspora, friends of Nigeria, to join this committee in demanding that every Nigeria’s stolen fund recovered in any part of the world should be returned to Nigeria,” she said.

She added, “The person who steals is a criminal; the person who keeps known stolen funds is also liable.

“You can’t give us aid of one billion dollars and keep one billion dollars of funds you have recovered from Nigeria.

“So we will join the committee to embark on an advocacy with Nigerians outside the world to appeal to these nations to do everything possible to return what belongs to Nigeria.”

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