Looters Frustrate Attempt to Repatriate £300m from Jersey – Federal Government
The minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama on Tuesday stated that looters are frustrating the efforts of the federal government to repatriate £300m stolen funds from country and hidden in Jersey -an autonomous British territory, the Punch reported.
Onyeama who was speaking at a press conference in Abuja said the money was part of the funds hidden by former military head of state, General Sani Abacha, which was laundered by an Indian businessman, Raj Bhojwani.
Onyeama said despite promises by the Bailiff of Jersey, Mr Micheal Birt in 2014 to return the money to the country the government is encoutering a brick wall as it tries to get the money sent back.
He said despite the agreement between Nigeria and the country where the money is hidden to send the money back, the person who deposited the money might take a legal action to frustrate the repatriation of the funds.
“Often times, what happens is that the people who claim to have ownership will come up with a challenge. For instance, the one in Jersey is about £300m. Everything had been done to repatriate the money; it was no longer contested and then at the last minute, it was contested by the people who were supposed to forfeit the funds.
“So of course, the authorities in Jersey had to oblige. As much as they would have liked to just go ahead to repatriate it, they had to go through some legal procedures because that party will have their lawyers and then we will have to start going through legal issues all over again. So, that is the challenge.”
When asked to reveal how much the Buhari administration had recovered in the last one year, Onyeama said he could not immediately reveal the facts.
However, the minister said since Buhari took over in May 2015, more countries had shown willingness to return looted funds due to the President’s anti-corruption crusade.
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