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Nigeria, UK okay deal on return of looted assets



• British government to reveal owners of stashed funds

Nigeria and Britain have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the modalities for the return of stolen assets.

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, signed on behalf of the Federal Government while the British Minister of State for Immigration, Robert Goodwill, endorsed the pact on behalf of his home government.

During the exercise which held at the Ministry of Justice yesterday, Goodwill stated that the MoU provides the mechanism by which looted funds could be returned to Nigeria.

Goodwill who noted that there is no safe place for stolen assets in the United Kingdom (UK) any longer, maintained that the ability to recover and return the previously looted funds would discourage future attempts to steal funds.

“Our ability to recover and return stolen assets should send a clear message to all who may seek to habour such assets that there is no safe haven in the UK”, he said.

The signing of the MoU was a follow- up to the agreement reached at the London anti-corruption summit in May.

According to the British delegate, British government is committed to returning funds looted from Nigeria. “We are keen to do this as soon as the necessary legal process allows. As outlined at the summit, we would be taking steps to accelerate the procedures for identification and confiscation of illegally-acquired assets.

“We are committed to ensuring that beneficial ownership of assets is made available to relevant authorities so they know the real owners of assets held in the UK.”

The British minister stressed that 40 jurisdictions, including British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, have stated that they would automatically share beneficial ownership information relating to companies, trusts, foundations and other relevant entities and legal arrangements.

In his response, Malami reflected the desire and willingness of both countries to continue co-operation and mutual support in the responsible and transparent return of all recovered assets.

He further outlined the objectives of the MoU to include the facts that:

• the processes of returning stolen assets was a partnership recognising the interest of both countries and based on mutual understanding, confidence and trust;

• both countries recognised that they have a mutual interest in ensuring that returned assets are not at risk of being misappropriated again and that both countries recognised they have obligations towards their own citizens for providing such assurances; and

• both countries recognised the importance of ensuring that the highest possible standard of transparency and accountability are applied for the return of assets.

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  • Al

    Kudus to PMB, this will serve as lesson to others. Invest at home if you most steal bcuz the world has become a small village where one can’t hide anything

  • Basil Ogbanufe

    “…… mutual interest in ensuring returned assets are not at risk of being misappropriated again……”. As at this very moment PMB and his government have refused to be accountable to the peoples of Nigeria.

    • Artful ºDodger

      Can you school us more on what you mean by ¨refusing to be accountable to the Nigerian people¨? I take it you just came out of hibernation or you have been in the process of a brain bypass since May last year?

  • stan Emelogu

    Everyday these foreign governments are always in the process of returning stolen Nigerian money. Even the ones Abacha stashed decades ago are still being expected. I am tired of these governments holding on to money they know were stolen. How much interest has these funds earned in the meantime? Your guess is as good as mine.

    • ej

      your own brothers have not returned the ones they stole talk less of foreigners. its not easy man

  • Artful ºDodger

    The UK will not return NOTHING! These is all a gimmick to pacify Nigeria after calling Nigerian leaders/politicians ¨fantastically corrupt¨.

  • abiamone

    It is easier (and less harmful to the British economy) if Britain was asked to publish the list of Nigerian money launderers than asking for the repatriation of money safely in British banks. If all the money exported to Britain by our legislators are returned, this will have a very deleterious effect on the British economy.

    • Artful ºDodger

      Believe me, the UK will run into a recession in less that 2 days!

  • Ade

    Even though the money is returned, who will benefit from it? The same thieves.

  • emmanuel kalu

    All these agreement are good but not great if those that stole the money are not punished. They should be published in the newspaper, ban for life from any government office or contract, their assets seized and they should spend a considerable amount of time behind bars. until we start doing this, we would just be wasting our time and energy.

  • vincentumenyiora

    I had earlier posted my own thinking about the possible euphoria about this matter as it applies to Nigerians being part proponents for the policy as far back as 2007 – there is one very important aspect of the exercise you have not considered and will determine the success or failure of it!