UK recovers fresh $23m Abacha loot, says more under probe

By: Ojay Egwa
Published: May 7, 2022

The National Crime Agency in the United Kingdom says it has recovered another $23,439,724.98 stolen by the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha. It said the money was siphoned out of Nigeria in the 1990s by associates and family of the former dictator.

The NCA, in a statement on Thursday, said the funds formed part of a larger pool of money identified by the United States Department of Justice as having been misappropriated by Abacha and his associates.

Abacha became the Head of State in November 1993 and died in office in June 1998. Billions of dollars stolen by the late dictator have been repatriated to Nigeria from countries like Switzerland, United States and the UK.

Some of the recovered funds include the $322m from Switzerland in 2017 and $308m from the UK in 2020.

The NCA said in the statement, “Acting on a request from the USDOJ, the NCA pursued nearly seven years of protracted litigation and international negotiation to obtain the recovery order, and to enforce the United States forfeiture order relating to the recovered monies. The funds have now been transferred to the Home Office for onward transmission to the USDOJ.”

The statement quoted the Asset Denial Senior Manager at the NCA, Billy Beattie, as saying, “The NCA is committed to ensuring that the UK is not a safe haven for criminals to launder their proceeds of crime, and civil recovery of assets is a powerful weapon in this fight.

“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 perpetuate corruption do not benefit from their actions.”

The NCA said the case was ongoing with further funds identified by the US Department of Justice as having also been misappropriated by Abacha and his associates.



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