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Sani Abacha's family forfeits $550million, £95,910 to the US

26/03/2014 19:29
The Federal Government has said it supports the seizure of $550m corruption proceeds of the late Gen. Sani Abacha and his associates by the United States.
In a statement made available in Abuja, on Wednesday, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, SAN, said the Federal Government would ensure the repatriation of the money to Nigeria.
The statement read, "As the central authority for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, my office has received requests for Mutual Legal Assistance for the Central Authority of the United States and we are cooperating with the United States in line with the obligations we assumed under the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.
"The overall objective of these efforts is to ensure that Nigeria as the victim state is able to have the forfeited assets (money) repatriated to Nigeria to fund development projects for the benefit of the people in accordance with the dictates of Chapter IV of the United Nations Convention against corruption. Let me assure you that Nigeria as State Party to UNCAC will do all that is required to realize this objective.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria welcomes the forfeiture proceedings initiated by the United States Department of Justice against the property related to the corrupt conduct of late General Sani Abacha, the former head of state of Nigeria, and His Associates and the subsequent laundering of corruption proceeds.
“The proceedings will make it possible for the defendants to forfeit over $550million and £95,910 in 10 accounts and six investment portfolios linked to the Abachas in France, the Britain, British Virgin Islands and the United States.”
The US government had, a few days ago, formally written the Federal Government for assistance to serve forfeiture notice on Abacha’s son, Mohammed, and an associate of the late dictator, Atiku Bagudu.
The defendants were given up till March 25, to file an application before the US District Court for Columbia to either set aside the forfeiture order or vary it.
Among others, the defendants forfeited over $550m and 95,910m pounds in 10 accounts and six investment portfolios linked to the Abachas in France, the Britain, British Virgin Island and the United States, under the US Kleptomaniac Asset Recovery. 
The minister said the Federal Government applauded the US government’s move to recover the proceeds of corruption for the benefit of the people of Nigeria.
The US government had on March 5, 2014 ordered a freeze of assets stolen by the former dictator and his accomplices.
According to a civil forfeiture complaint unsealed in the US District Court in Washington, the department wants to recover more than $550m in connection with the action.
“This is the largest civil forfeiture action to recover the proceeds of foreign official corruption ever brought by the department,” said Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general.
The frozen assets, along with additional assets named in the complaint, represented the “proceeds of corruption” during and after the military regime of Abacha, who became Head of State through a military coup on November 17, 1993 and held that office until his death on June 8, 1998.

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