The United States has agreed to return to Nigeria about $480million believed to have been looted by late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha and his family.
However, terms and conditions for the repatriation of the cash and other details are currently being processed.
Following the development, the Department of Justice in the United States has created a Kleptocracy Unit, which will help in tracking the stolen money shipped overseas by public officials from Nigeria and other countries.
This is coming following a recent meeting between the Department of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, The Nation said in a report.
A source, who spoke with the newspaper said: “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.
“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.”
In the source’s view, there is no hiding place for Nigerian treasury looters in the United States anymore.
“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.”
Recall that the Criminal Division of the Office of International Affairs of the US Department of Justice, had in a letter to the Federal Government, identified the accounts where Abacha loot was hidden.
The highlights are as follows: Doraville Properties Corporation – $287 million in Account Number 80020796 located at Deutsche Bank International Limited in the Bailiwick of Jersey; HSBC Fund Administration (Jersey) – $12 million in account number S-104460 in the Bailiwick of Jersey; and Rayville International, S. A – $1 million in account number 223405880IUSD at Banque SBA in Paris, France.
Others are Standard Alliance Financial Services Limited – $144 million in account 223406510PUSD at Banque SBA in Paris; Mecosta Securities – $21.7 million in accounts 10030688 and 100138409 at Standard Bank in the United Kingdom; and HSBC Bank Plc – $1.6 million in account number 38175076.
Also listed are Blue Holding (1) Pte Ltd/ Ridley Group Limited – £6,806,900; Blue Holding (2) Pte. Ltd/ Ridley Group Limited – £21,846,983; Blue Holding (1) Pte. Ltd/ Ridley Group Limited – £10,293,343.58; Blue Holding (2) Pte. Ltd/Ridley Group Limited – £56,962,996.26.
It was learnt that the Abacha family had pledged to cooperate with the Federal Government.