We’ll Monitor How Nigeria Spends US$308m Abacha Loot, Government of Jersey Warns

The Government of Jersey in the United States of America has said it would monitor how Nigeria spends the US$308 million looted by the late former Head of State, General Sani Abacha.

This was contained in a press statement published on the website of the US Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria on Tuesday.

The statement announced that the Government of Jersey, Nigeria and the United States of America have entered into an Asset Recovery Agreement to repatriate over US$308 million of forfeited assets to Nigeria.

The Solicitor-General and Attorney-General designate of Jersey, Mark Temple QC, who signed the Agreement on behalf of Jersey, said, “This Agreement represents the culmination of two decades of intensive work by Law Officers in Jersey, the United States, and Nigeria.

The return of the assets to Nigeria had been delayed by a number of hard-fought challenges by third parties which were defeated in the Courts in Jersey and the United States.

“The Agreement establishes a framework based on fruitful co-operation, trust and respect so that the forfeited funds can be repatriated to benefit the people of Nigeria, from whom they had been taken. The use of the funds will be subject to monitoring and reporting obligations.

“This is a very significant achievement, and, once again, demonstrates Jersey’s commitment to tackling international financial crime and money laundering.”

Jersey’s Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, said, “Since becoming aware that the alleged proceeds of Abacha corruption and money laundering had passed through Jersey financial institutions, the Jersey authorities have done everything within their power to investigate what happened and to return the money to its rightful owners, the people of Nigeria.

“I would like to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to the dedicated team within the Law Officers’ Department, and their colleagues in United States and Nigeria. Their excellent level of cooperation in the fight against corruption, at domestic and international levels, should be an example for other jurisdictions to follow.

“As a leading international finance centre with an effective and robust regulatory regime, Jersey has a responsibility to firmly address any instances of alleged money laundering and corruption. Our commitment to seeing these funds repatriated has led to a positive outcome for the people of Nigeria, has established lasting partnerships and given us a pioneering role in asset-recovery that is based on the principles of national interest, trust and mutual respect.”

Deputy Assistant Attorney Brian Benczkowski announced the agreement on behalf of the United States and stated, “The Department is pleased to enter into this agreement with The Bailiwick of Jersey and the Federal Republic of Nigeria to return this enormous amount of stolen funds for the benefit of the people harmed by the corruption in Nigeria.

“Through the recovery of these funds — and this mutual agreement — the people of Nigeria can see the money they lost to corruption in flagrant disregard of the rule of law is returned through a lawful process, and in a manner that ensures transparent and accountable use of the funds. This is a major achievement. It also stands as a clear statement of our commitment to safeguard the United States from those who seek to launder the proceeds of corruption through the abuse of our financial system.”

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