Concerns over alleged re-looting of over $1.5b Abacha Loot

Economists, legal practitioners as well as other professionals and civil society organisations have expressed concerns over the poor management of returned looted funds, especially the money stolen by former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.Disturbed by increasing wave of corruption across the country, despite the much-talked about anti-corruption campaign of the present administration, the experts are further piqued about indications that returned loot were being re-looted, especially as the financial transactions remained opaque, lacking in transparency and accountability.

This growing fear, perhaps, recently forced the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III to ask the Federal Government to explain to Nigerians how much of the country’s looted funds it has so far recovered.

While the Federal and Delta State governments continue to lock horns over the returned £4.2m stolen by former governor James Onanefe Ibori, the experts stressed that there was every justification to return the stolen money to the state in the spirit of true federalism.

 

Last month, the Federal Government stated that the actual money stolen under Abacha and the amount recovered were unclear. As much as $5b was reportedly stolen by the deceased leader alone.

The funds, basically from oil and gas, which go out of the country as Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) hover around N103t in the last 15 years, The Guardian had earlier reported.

From 2007 to 2020, about $1.5b has been returned to Nigeria from different parts of the world. Also, between 2007 and 2018, Switzerland returned over $1b to the Nigerian government, and in June 2014, Liechtenstein sent $277m to Nigeria.

In May 2020, $308m held in accounts based in the Channel Island of Jersey, were sent to Nigeria. The returned monies brought the total of returned Abacha loot to $1.5b.

At the Ministry of Finance, Nwodo Charles, the ministry’s spokesperson said he needed time to get accurate information on the matter.

On the state of the projects where part of the fu116.72b for the much-politicised second Niger Bridge, a project valued at N414b, and expected to be delivered next year.