Why Abacha stashed money in foreign accounts, by Al-Mustapha
Says traditional rulers aware of decision
Former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the late Military Head of State, Major Hamza Al-Mustspha has declared that the funds being recovered as General Sani Abacha’s loot were kept in foreign banks with the knowledge of traditional rulers.
Al-Mustapha said Nigerians should not blame the late General Abacha for the money starched abroad, but those who had mismanaged the funds since the military leader’s demise.
He insisted that keeping the billions in banks overseas was not a unilateral decision, but a decision carried out after consultations with relevant stakeholders and monarchs from across the country.
The former CSO who most Nigerians believed was a major factor in the political intrigues of the Abacha junta spoke with the BBC Hausa Service and monitored by The Guardian in Kaduna yesterday.
“I am saying this based on what I know and based on trust for Nigerians, their dignity and honour. I have said there was a period Nigeria was to be sanctioned. So, there were plans to keep money overseas so that Nigeria and Nigerians would not suffer when the sanctions were finally imposed on the country.
“We gathered emirs, traditional rulers and chiefs from the North and South together with important personalities at that time, comprising those in government and those outside government,” he stated.
Al-Mustapha explained Abacha and some senior military officers and the traditional rulers met at the Camp Bassey Officer’s Mess in the Brigade of Guards where they deliberated on the threat to sanction Nigeria and several decisions were made.
He said the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among others, attended the meeting, adding, “It is surprising because when a person is opening an account, it is that very person that will go to the bank for biometric capture.
“The person’s photograph will be taken and he will avail the bank the required information, the source of the money, all these are requirements that must be met. Also, the portfolio capital movement, the time and date of movement must be captured.”
“But for him that had not gone to those countries where the money was kept, what justification do they have to say the accounts belonged to him? Have they ever seen where the late Abacha appended his signature or thumbprint that the money belonged to him?
“I’m surprised at the way Abacha is being blackmailed, because when he assumed leadership, Nigeria had less than $2b in its foreign reserve. Things were not organised.
“But within five years and eight months, he did what was possible to raise it to over $9b. But after his death, all the billions vanished within nine months. The person that raised Nigeria’s image and enhanced security is now the subject of derision. But those who shared the money he left behind are still alive and untouchable,” he stated.
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