Abacha Loot: No third-party encumbrance…FG

Abubakar Malami SAN

By Saminu Ibrahim

The Nigerian Government on Wednesday said it has not entered into any agreement to concede any amount of money to any individual in relation to over $300 million to
be repatriated back to Nigeria from Island of New Jessy.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, AbubakarMalami made the clarification while speaking to Voice of Nigeria andDeutsche Welle on Tuesday 7th April, 2020.

This is contained in a statement by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, SpecialAssistant on Media and Public Relations Office of the Attorney-Generalof the Federation and Minister of Justice and made available tonewsmen on Wednesday 8th April, 2020.

The Minister who stated that the Federal Government is exclusivelybound by the tripartite agreement entered into and signed by theFederal Government of Nigeria, United State of America and Island ofJessy for the repatriation of over $300 million funds referred to asAbacha III.

He added that no individual was named to be a beneficiary of anyamount in the tripartite agreement.

Malami said the international community have developed confidence inthe present administration in view of the fact that looted fundsrecovered by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration,before now, were judiciously utilized for high-impact public orientedprojects.

He said in the document of the agreement, it was clearly spelt outthat the monies will be utilized in the Abuja-Kano and Lagos – IbadanExpress ways as well as the 2nd Niger Bridge only and the insinuationof third-party beneficiary outside the scope of the agreement is,therefore, baseless and unfounded.

The Minister said Nigeria has no reputational issue over enforcementof agreements and treaties and it is, therefore, an impossibility andunimaginable for Nigeria to hand over some amount of money to a thirdparty not expressly mentioned in the agreement after the threecountries concerned signed an agreement on what to do with therepatriated funds.

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He noted that people are mischievously peddling contaminatedinformation out of ignorance, political blackmail, selfish interest,or mischievous intentions.

The Attorney-General, however, clarified that the funds in contentionare not in any way connected with assets exempted by former PresidentObasanjo pursuant to August 18, 2003 agreement by which President Obasanjo “resolved and released all claims and liabilities of any kindwhich exist or might exist against Atiku Bagudu in favour of or at thesuit of any organ of government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

Atiku Bagudu’s  family contention which constitute a judicial actionis borne out of Obasanjo’s concession and the claims arising therefromis separate and distinct,” the Minister has said.


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