Abacha Loot: Why Okonjo-Iweala May Be Probed

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A senior advocate of Nigeria and Lagos based human right lawyer, Femi Falana has mandated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commence investigation into the alleged diversion of $500 million of the $4 billion recovered from the family of the late military head of state, General Sani Abacha.

"Head of State, Late General Sani Abacha"

Former Head of State, Late General Sani Abacha

In a letter addressed to the chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, on Friday, December 18, Falana charged the commission to confirm the actual amount of money and properties recovered from the loot, Punch reports.

Falana who quoted from and annexed to his petition copies of the Forfeiture Assets Decree No. 55 of 1999 on seized Abacha loot, a press statement by the Federal Ministry of Justice on the Abacha loot and photocopies of pages 494 to 496 of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s book, My Watch, that  “over $2bn and £100m had been recovered from Abacha family abroad, and as well as N10bn in cash and properties locally before Obasanjo left office.”


Falana noted that the then Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, had justified the withdrawal of N446bn theft charges against one of the sons of the former Head of State, Mohammed Abacha, as a step to “facilitate the recovery of the sum of $380m from the Luxembourg proceedings and $550m from forfeiture proceedings instituted by the United States Department of Justice.”

Falana who urged the EFCC to probe the alleged diversion of about $500m and ensure it was fully accounted for, added that it would be difficult for the federal government to succeed in its plan to recover the nation’s stolen money stashed abroad.

The Senior Advocate further ordered a probe into the connection between the Abacha loot, former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former National Security Advicer, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.


He said, “Adoke further disclosed that the efforts of the administration had led to ‘the recovery of $226.3 million from Liechtenstein, in addition to the 7.5 million Euros that was recovered from an associated company of the Abacha’s in Liechtenstein in 2011. It will also be recalled that in 2011, the federal government was able to recover and repatriate through negotiated settlement with the Jersey 22.5m pounds confiscated from an associate of the Abacha family by the Island of Jersey.”

“But in a desperate bid to cover up the gross mismanagement and criminal diversion of the Abacha loot, former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had repeatedly maintained that only $500m had been recovered by the Federal Government.”

“To lend credence to the fraudulent claim, the World Bank confirmed in a reply to an enquiry by SERAP that the $500m recovered from the loot had been judiciously spent on some phantom development projects in several parts of the country.”

“But following the recent revelation by the Premium Times that a substantial part of the loot had been criminally diverted, Okonjo-Iweala has admitted that she transferred $322m from the Abacha loot to former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to prosecute the war on terror. Apart from the said £322m, Okonjo-Iweala also released £5.5m to Dasuki.”

“Okonjo-Iweala’s excuse that the said $322m was released due to the urgency of the crisis in the North-East region is untenable having regards to the fact that former President Jonathan had sought the approval of the National Assembly to take a loan of $1bn to equip the armed forces to fight insurgency.”

“Therefore, the self-induced urgency created by Okonjo-Iweala is not a justification for spending public funds without appropriation. It may interest you to know that $500m allegedly spent on development projects was also not appropriated by the National Assembly.”

“In view of the ongoing, we hereby request you to use your good offices to confirm the actual amount recovered from the Abacha loot by the Federal Government and the extent of the criminal diversion of the said loot by Okonjo-Iweala, Dasuki and other suspects. Unless the Abacha loot is fully accounted for, the Buhari administration will find it difficult to receive the cooperation of many governments in the ongoing efforts to recover the stolen wealth of the country,”  he added.

‎Meanwhile, Switzerland had previously returned to Nigeria over $700 million of the Late Head of State,  General Sani Abacha  in Swiss accounts.

The post Abacha Loot: Why Okonjo-Iweala May Be Probed appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read on NAIJ.COM.

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