The Federal Government of Nigeria has acknowledged receipt of the sum of $311,797,866.11 which is the third tranche refund of money and assets stolen by the late former head of state, General Sani Abacha.
According to the Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this latest recovery would assist the government in expediting the construction of three major infrastructure projects in the country.
In order to ensure transparent management of the returned assets, the Federal Government has announced its decision to engage a Civil Society Organization to provide additional monitoring and oversight.
Sani Abacha was a Nigerian statesman and military general who served as the head of state of Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998. He was also Chief of Army Staff between 1985 to 1990; Chief of Defence Staff between 1990 to 1993; and Minister of Defence. In 1993, Abacha became the first Nigerian soldier to attain the rank of a full military general without skipping a single rank. His rule saw the achievement of several economic feats and also recorded human rights abuses.
Abacha and his family are alleged to have embezzled $1 billion – $5 billion. In 2002, false rumours circulated that Abacha’s family purportedly agreed to return $1.2 billion. On 7 August 2014, the United States Department of Justice announced the forfeiture of US$480 million, the largest in its history, to the Nigerian government. Jersey discovered more than $267 million dollars in funds that were allegedly laundered through the U.S. banking system and deposited in a Jersey account (£210m in British pounds). The U.S. Justice Department, Jersey courts and the government of Nigeria completed a civil asset forfeiture against the funds and they will be divided between those countries.