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Fresh $319m Abacha loot in UK, France – US

Barely a week after helping to repatriate $311m (N118bn) stolen by the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, the United States says there is a separate $319m (N121bn) Abacha loot in the United Kingdom and France.

The US Embassy in Nigeria said in a statement on Wednesday that there is $167m in stolen assets in France while there is a separate $152m in the UK which is being challenged in court.

The statement read in part, “The funds returned last week are distinct and separate from an additional $167m in stolen assets also forfeited in the United Kingdom and France, as well as $152m still in active litigation in the United Kingdom.”

According to a report by Bloomberg, the UK is challenging the return of the funds to Nigeria due to the alleged plan of the federal government to transfer $110 million out of the money to Atiku Bagudu, Kebbi state governor.

“The U.S. Department of Justice says Bagudu was involved in corruption with Abacha,” the report stated

According to the repor, the federal government is seeking the approval of a UK court to take possession of the assets before transferring seventy percent of the proceeds to Bagudu under the terms of an agreement signed in 2018.

However, the AGF has since denied the allegations stating that that Bagudu’s assets are not covered under the agreement which the federal government signed to recover funds looted by Abacha.

An estimate of $5 billion is said to have been stolen from Nigeria during Abacha’s five-year rule.

While previous Nigerian governments have repatriated billions of dollars looted by Abacha, who died in office in 1998, Buhari’s administration has said it is prevented from assisting the US’ ongoing forfeiture efforts by an agreement between Bagudu and the Obasanjo’s government in 2003.

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