US to return $480M stolen by late dictator

The decision was reached after a meeting between the US Department of Justice, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

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The decision was reached after a meeting between the US Department of Justice, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, The Nation reports.

“This is the largest loot ever traced to a former Nigerian public officer in the U.S. The DOJ, the AGF and the EFCC have concluded all the talks; we are in the process of repatriation of the $480million,” a source said.

“Although there are interventions from private lawyers, the DOJ prefers a government-to-government deal. I can tell you that the funds will soon be repatriated. If there is anything left, it has to do with the conditions which the US will attach to the utilisation of the funds.

“The US is likely to advise on specific areas to spend the funds on and the project monitoring mechanisms. It does not want the cash re-looted. The Federal Government and the U.S. on January 14, 2003 signed the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between the two nations. So, no corrupt public officers from Nigeria can hide in the US.

“At the session with AGF and the EFCC boss, they told the Nigerian team that the DOJ now has Kleptocracy Unit which is closing tabs on Political Office Holders and other public officers in this country and many other nations,” the source added.

Funds stolen by Abacha have also been recovered from Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Channels Island.

The former dictator is believed to have stolen about $5 billion from Nigeria during his regime.

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