FG disagrees with US senator’s move against returning Abacha's loot
- The federal government disagrees with a US senator’s move against returning $320m looted by late military dictator Abacha
- The lawmaker, Chuck Grassley, had questioned why the United States was returning the funds to Nigeria
- The senator said the money should not be returned to Nigeria because the current administration has a high record of human rights violations
The Nigerian federal government has disagreed with the attempt by Chuck Grassley, a United States lawmaker, to block the repatriation of $320m laundered by the late head of state, General Sani Abacha, Premium Times reports.
The senator who said the Buhari-led administration has a high record of human rights violations had questioned the US Department of Justice why the country was returning the funds to Nigeria. He added that such funds should not be returned to Nigeria because of the violations.
Grassley, who is America's highest ranking senator, in the letter dated Wednesday, April 1 and addressed to Deborah Connor, the Chief Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section made reference to a report that exposed an arrangement Nigeria had with Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state, who helped Abacha launder billions of naira.
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However, Nigeria's justice minister and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami in a statement on Wednesday, April 8, by his spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, reacted to Grassley's claim saying the accusations were baseless.
The AGF said: “The evidence on the ground establishes that the Federal Government’s operations in the fight against corruption are carried out without fear or favour.”
Malami noted that the federal government has not entered into any agreement to concede any fund to any individual in relation to over $300m to be repatriated to Nigeria from the Island of New Jersey.
The minister of justice explained that the Nigerian government was exclusively bound by the tripartite agreement entered for the repatriation of over $300m funds.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the government of the US told Nigeria that it would recover the $308m looted by the late head of state if the funds are embezzled in the country.
The US government gave the warning during the signing of a pact with the federal government for the repatriation of the money to Nigeria.
Olanipekun Olukoyede, the secretary of the EFCC who was present during the signing of the pact disclosed that the US warned that it would take action by collecting the money back from Nigeria if the funds are stolen.
In a related development, the FG said that it cannot account for how the recovered loot of the former leader was spent between 1999 and 2015.
AGF Malami's words were in reaction to a Free of Information request submitted to his office by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), demanding to know the way recovered Abacha loot was being used.
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Nigeria News 2018: Abacha Loot - The Federal Government To Share $322M To Nigerians | Legit TV