The National Crime Agency (NCA) in the United Kingdom has recovered loot believed to have been siphoned out of Nigeria in the 1990s by the family and associates of former Nigerian head of state, General Sani Abacha.
The funds, according to a statement issued by the agency on Thursday, were part of a larger pool of funds identified by the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) as having been misappropriated by Abacha and his allies.
The NCA disclosed that the funds have been forwarded to the Home Office for transmission to the USDOJ.
In addition, it pursued nearly seven years of protracted litigation and international negotiations to obtain the recovery order, in order to enforce the U.S. forfeiture order pertaining to the recovered funds.
Billy Beattie, the NCA’s Senior Manager of Asset Denial, affirmed the agency’s commitment to combating money laundering in the United Kingdom.
“The NCA is committed to ensuring that the UK is not a safe haven for criminals to launder their proceeds of crime, and the civil recovery of assets is a powerful weapon in this fight,” Beatie stated.
“We work closely with the UK and international partners to tackle the threat posed by corruption, which disproportionately impacts the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.
“We are committed to ensuring that those who perpetrate corruption do not benefit from their actions.”
The NCA case is ongoing with further monies having been identified by the USDOJ as having also been misappropriated by Abacha and his associates.
Since Abacha’s death in 1998, recovered monies have principally been stashed away in four major countries: Switzerland, Jersey Island in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Liechtenstein, reports said.
During the General Abdulsalami Abubakar era in 1999, $750million was recovered while $1.2 billion was recovered in 2002; $149 million repatriated from Jersey Island, UK in 2003; $500 million recovered in 2004 from Switzerland, and another $458 million recovered in 2005 from Switzerland, all under former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration also saw the recovery of $1 billion in 2012 and $380 million in 2015 respectively, both tranches from Switzerland.
Similarly, Liechtenstein and the United States repatriated the sum of $227 million and $48 million respectively in 2014 during Jonathan’s administration.