Nigeria risks losing $550m Abacha loot to U.S., says Sagay
PACAC boss urges Nigerians abroad to help
The Federal Government has raised concern over Nigeria’s likelihood of losing another $550 million recovered from the Abacha family to the United States (U.S.).
Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), who disclosed this yesterday, stated that the amount was different from the earlier $480 million forfeited to the U.S. following a court judgment of August 2014.
Sagay spoke at a media parley on Asset Recovery and Asset Return, organised by the PACAC in collaboration with Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
Sagay lamented that the tracing, seizure, forfeiture and return of Nigeria’s assets laundered outside the country has become a challenge due to the unco-operative posture of the countries in possession of the funds.
“On August 6, 2014, U.S. District Judge, John D. Bates of the District of Columbia declared forfeited, the sum of $480 million from the money recovered from the Abacha’s family in the U.S.
“Nigeria presently stands to lose another $550 million dollars recovered from the Abacha’s family to the U.S. contrary to the earlier promise by the country to return same to Nigeria. These funds are just a fraction of Nigeria’s stolen wealth stashed away in foreign countries which can be traced,” he said.
The PACAC chairman called on Nigerians in Diaspora to put pressure on the U.S, UK, Switzerland, United Arab Emirate and other countries reluctant to return Nigeria’s recovered fund in their custody.
Dabiri-Erewa, berated the affected countries for withholding the funds, stressing that their refusal to return the funds to Nigeria is against the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
“America has over $400 million that has been officially recovered as stolen funds from Nigeria but American government is keeping the funds back on technical grounds.
“The person who steals is just as guilty as the person who keeps stolen funds. The person who steals is a criminal; the person who keeps known stolen funds is also a criminal,” she said.