ANEEJ Hails Tracking of $480m Abacha Loot

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August 11, 2014.
For Immediate Release
ANEEJ Hails Tracking of $480m Abacha Loot
• Makes Case for CSOs in repatriation, utilization
BENIN CITY—–The Department of Justice, United States of America, last week said it has tracked more than $480million in corruption proceeds hidden in bank accounts around the world by former Nigerian Head of State, General Sani Abacha, his son, Mohammed Abacha and other co-conspirators.
The US Attorney- General, Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant Director in Charge, Valerie Parlave, of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement after a judgment was entered on August 6, 2014, by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates of the District of Columbia.
“We applaud the Kleptocracy Assets Recovery Initiative of the United States and we appreciate all allies of Nigeria in Jersey, France, and the United Kingdom who worked under the initiative to make the asset recovery a success. Through this singular act, the United States have demonstrated in practical terms that its territory can no longer be used as safe haven for laundering looted assets from our country that has for decades be hemorrhaging from corruption by those who hold public office.” Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Rev. David Ugolor has said.
“In the same vein, we commend the Head of Nigerian Economic Team and Minister of Finance, Dr. Nngozi Okonjo Iweala for her doggedness, astuteness and courage to ensure that the nation’s looted assets were tracked and repatriated to our dear fatherland to finance development.
“We are not surprised that she could achieve such feat given her track record in repatriation of several billions of dollars from corrupt leaders in Switzerland, as well as securing debt relief for Nigeria in 2005 while in charge of the Finance portfolio under the Obasanjo administration.” Rev. Ugolor recalled.
“Given the critical role of Civil Society under the UN Convention on Corruption, we call on the U.S. authorities to ensure that Nigerian Civil Society Organisations are part of the discussions of the transfer and utilization of the recovered $480million. There exists a model in our country, when $500million was repatriated from the same Sani Abacha clan in 2004, the Nigerian Network of NGOs on Stolen Assets, led by ANEEJ worked with Swiss CSOs and the Swiss Government with our Federal Government where we agreed that the proceeds be used to finance projects under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Already, we are working with some U.S. based Civil Society Organisations to partner with them to engage in the process of the repatriation of the said $480million and we hope to work with the Federal Ministry of Finance and other government MDAs to ensure the successful repatriation of the loot to finance development under the transformation agenda of the present government.” Ugolor said.
“We strongly believe that forfeiture of proceeds of corruption during and after the military regime of General Sani Abacha represents significant milestones for the war against corruption in high places in Nigeria. We, however, urge the U.S., other governments and Federal Government of Nigeria to equally extend the search light to other living corrupt Nigerians leaders who indulge in this criminal act of pillorying the nation’s resources for primitive accumulation while millions of citizens wallow in abject poverty.” ANEEJ helmsman stated.
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