£230 million stolen by Sani Abacha in the 1990s is set to be returned to Nigeria from Jersey. This results from the joint efforts and extensive co-operation between the Asset Recovery Section of the US and the Jersey authorities. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, have also been playing a vital role in the recovery process.
Sani Abacha Leadership
Sani Abacha, who was the president of Nigeria from 1993 to 1998, was accused of stealing the £230m while he was in Power. He had taken up the leadership of Nigeria after the resignation of Ernest Shonekan.
During his time as the head of state, Sani ruled Nigerians with an iron fist and was regarded as a dictator. This was certainly attributed to the fact that he had military training. He would then use his foreign connections to store corruption money in Britain, France, and Jersey. Sani Abacha died on 8th June 1998 in the Presidential Villa in Abuja due to a heart attack.
Sani Abacha’s Corruption Case
Doraville Properties Corporation’s bank account in Jersey is where loads of the stolen cash has been all the years. The account had the name of Sani Abacha’s son, Ibrahim Mohammed, and other family members. Sani Abacha’s case has been undergoing numerous appeals until the final one that was held in 2018. This came from a lengthy court battle since 2014 that led to the freezing of the Sani’s secret bank accounts in Jersey.
The final ruling took place in the District Court of Columbia. But, the enforcement of the verdict only surfaced in 2019. This saw laundering operation extended to Germany, France, Lichtenstein, and Luxembourg.
The reached agreement
The government of Nigeria, Jersey, and the US, a few days ago signed an agreement to have the cash returned. The Solicitor General who signed the understanding said the culmination of the recovery process had been delayed due to the numerous hard-fought appeals from third parties. However, the recovered money is set to undergo an audit, according to a joint statement from the Nigerian, Jersey, and the US governments.
The launched money will be repatriated to benefit Nigerians under the administration of Nigeria Sovereign investment authority and NGOs. A Monitory Team is set to be established to oversee the use of the launched cash in different projects. Mr. Abubakar Malami stated that the recovered asset would be used to build the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway. it would also be used to construct the Second Niger Bridge and Abuja- Kano Road. He further indicated that the projects would be essential to boost the driving factors of Industrialization in Nigeria.
According to the US authority, there is an additional £134 million still under follow up and maybe seized soon. As it is, there are about 7 mega corruption cases still ongoing to help Nigeria get back stolen assets. Recovering the funds will undoubtedly help Nigeria scale the economic ladder globally. Similarly, the adjournment of the Sani Abacha’s case breaths hope to African countries in the fight against corruption.