Malami Asks Civil Groups To Monitor FG’s Usage Of Recovered Abacha Loot

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Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has called on civil society organisations and Nigerians generally to be involved in monitoring how recovered Abacha’s loot will be used by the Federal Government.

The Minister said it is important for them to be involved in the monitoring of the usage of the recovered fund in the implementation of the key infrastructure projects that will greatly enhance road transportation in Nigeria.

Malami made this known after the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Government of Jersey and the United States of America signed a tripartite agreement on the recovery of over $300m looted funds.

This is contained in a statement issued by Dr Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and made available to journalists on Tuesday.

According to the statement, Malami signed the agreement on behalf of Nigerian government while the Solicitor General and Attorney General designate of Jersey, Mark Temple QC signed the Agreement on behalf of Jersey. The Deputy Assistant Attorney Brian Benczkowski announced the agreement on behalf of the United States.

In his address during the signing, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said that the “agreement has culminated in a major victory, for Nigeria and other African countries as it recognizes that crime does not pay and that it is important for the international community to seek for ways to support sustainable development through the recovery and repatriation of stolen assets.”

He noted further that “Without the commitment of the three parties to the Agreement (Nigeria, Jersey and the United States) and that of the legal experts and Attorneys representing Nigeria, it would have been impossible to achieve the success recorded today.”

Malami, also stated, “As you are aware, the government of Nigeria has committed that the assets will support and assist in expediting the construction of three major infrastructure projects across Nigeria: the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, Abuja – Kano Road and the Second Niger Bridge. These projects are being executed under the supervision of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority as a Public Private Partnership that will boost economic growth and help alleviate poverty by connecting people and supply chains from the East to the West and to the Northern part of Nigeria, a vast area covering several kilometers with millions of the country’s population set to benefit from the road infrastructures.”

He also called for greater cooperation and mutual respect amongst countries in the implementation of expeditious cooperation measures already set out in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and in the implementation of the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) principles on the repatriation of stolen assets.

“The Nigerian government, in consultation with the other Parties, will also engage Civil Society Organisations, who have expertise in substantial infrastructure projects, civil engineering, anti-corruption compliance, anti-human trafficking compliance, and procurement to provide additional monitoring and oversight”.

According to a joint press statement on the agreement issued by the government of three countries, the Federal Government is to establish a Monitoring Team to oversee the implementation of the projects and to report regularly on progress.

The recovered funds according to the US Missions were laundered through the US banking system and then held in bank accounts in Jersey in the name of Doraville Properties Corporation, a BVI company, and in the name of the son of the former Head of State of Nigeria, General Sani Abacha.

In 2014 a U.S. Federal Court in Washington DC forfeited the money as property involved in the illicit laundering of the proceeds of corruption arising in Nigeria during the period from 1993 to 1998 when General Abacha was Head of State.