Reactions as UK seizes fresh N82bn Abacha loot

A bank account containing £ 211 m ( approximately N 82 bn ) has been traced to a former Nigerian military dictator, General Sani Abacha .

The money was recovered and subsequently confiscated in Jersey , Channel Islands , on the request of the United States of America Government .

Late Abacha was said to have laundered the money through the US into the Channel Islands before his death in 1998 .
According to a report by Metro UK on Tuesday, the money was put in accounts held in Jersey by Doraville Properties Corporation, a British Virgin Islands company .

The report said the money was now being held by the government until authorities in Jersey , the US and Nigeria came to an agreement on how it should be distributed .
It was gathered that Jersey would keep the £ 211m loot in its Criminal Confiscation Fund , which could be used to pay for a variety of projects on the island .
The report added that more money held by Doraville was likely to be seized and paid into the Civil Asset Recovery Fund in the future .

Jersey ’ s Attorney General , Robert MacRae, said , “ In restraining the funds at the request of the United States of America , through whose banking system the funds were laundered prior to arriving here , and in achieving the payment of the bulk of the funds into the Civil Asset Recovery Fund , Jersey has once again demonstrated its commitment to tackling international financial crime and money laundering . ”
It was learnt that MacRae had applied for the restraining order over the Jersey bank account balance of Doraville in 2014 , which the Jersey ’ s Royal Court granted .
However , Doraville applied to the Royal Court for the restraint order to be discharged , but the court dismissed the application in 2016 .

A year later , Doraville challenged the Royal Court ’ s decision , taking the case to Jersey ’ s Court of Appeal, an appeal that was rejected .
After the appeal ’ s rejection, Doraville made an application to appeal against the restraint order before the Privy Council, Jersey ’ s ultimate appellate court .

However , the Privy Council rejected Doraville ’ s appeal in February 2018 .
Jersey ’ s Solicitor General , Mark Temple, said last week at a United Nations Conference on Corruption that the island was determined to fight international financial crime .
By the time Abacha died in office in June 1998 , he had reportedly stolen an estimated $ 2 . 2 bn from the country’ s coffers .
His then – National Security Adviser, Alhaji Ismaila Gwarzo ; his son, Mohammed Abacha ; and best friend , Alhaji Mohammed Sada , were alleged to have played a central role in the looting and transfer of money to offshore accounts .

However , the Director of Information in the Ministry of Finance , Mr Hassan Dodo, could not be reached for comments on the seized funds as calls made to his mobile phone were not answered , while a text message sent to him was not responded to .
PDP , ADC attack Buhari
Meanwhile , the Peoples Democratic Party said the return of stolen money traced to the late army general must be worrisome to President Muhammadu Buhari .
The PDP recalled that the President had once defended the late head of state and proclaimed him a saint.

It said that because Buhari served in the government of the general whom millions of dollars had been traced to , the President had been defending him “ when it was clear to all that the late general stole Nigeria dry . ”
The National Chairman of the PDP , Prince Uche Secondus, said there was nothing on ground to indicate that the looted funds would not be stolen again.
He said , “ It is sad that we continue to hear about the return of stolen funds by the former head of state .
“ Funny though , the President had described the former head of state as a saint, saying he never stole anything.
“ The continued return of the stolen money must be a source of worry to the President and the Federal Government that the man they had proclaimed as a saint stole to that extent.

“ I am , however , worried that there is nothing to indicate that the money will not disappear again .
“ There is no monument on ground to tell us what repatriated cash was spent on . So, the recently announced stolen funds may also end same way . ”
The African Democratic Congress also said any literate Nigerian who still saw Buhari as a saint had only wasted his time in school .
The party ’ s National Publicity Secretary , Yemi Kolapo , wondered if a President , who defended a man who had stolen more funds than any living or dead Nigerian , could be rated high in integrity.

Kolapo said , “ If the late dictator , Sani Abacha , whose stolen funds , worth several trillions of naira could run the Nigerian economy for three decades is the President’ s hero , then his supporters must be enemies of Nigeria.

“ What exactly is the President ’ s stand against corruption ? All the talk about the fight against corruption under this administration is political abracadabra . ”

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