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How FG seeks to recover $750m Abacha loot

By The Rainbow
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The Federal Government plans to  to engage acclaimed consultants in its bid to recover another $750m looted and stashed away by a former Head of State, the late Gen. Sani Abacha, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minster of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, has said.

Malami that an additional £6.9 million said to have been misappropriated by former governor of Delta State, James Ibori would also be recovered.

The minister, who was accompanied by officials of the ministry, spoke during an interactive session with the House of Representatives Committee on Justice on Tuesday.

He  told the lawmakers that   the ministry will engage in an agree waive policy of using Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements or other bilateral and multilateral instruments to seek cooperation with other jurisdictions to ensure the repatriation of illicitly- acquired assets in foreign jurisdictions.

The collaboration will equally involve the engagement of foreign-based counsel to attend to matters on behalf of the Federal Government.

Low- hanging fruits being targeted in this initiative include $750 million 'Abaca loot' as well as the sum of GBP 6.9 million of the 'Ibori loot'.

In the long run, the ministry will be in a position to coordinate the recovery of billions of dollars in foreign jurisdictions, based on current estimations.”

He also revealed that about 800 terrorism cases were being lined up for prosecution by his office.

Malami said, “In respect of the recovery of looted assets, the ministry will engage in an agree-waive policy of using Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements or other bilateral and multi-lateral instruments to seek cooperation with other jurisdictions to ensure the repatriation of illicitly-acquired assets in foreign jurisdictions.

“The collaboration will equally involve the engagement of foreign-based counsel to attend to matters on behalf of the Federal Government. Low-hanging fruits, being targeted in this initiative, include $750m 'Abaca loot' as well as the sum of GBP £6.9m of the 'Ibori loot'.

“On the long run, the ministry will be in a position to coordinate the recovery of billions of dollars in foreign jurisdictions, based on current estimations.”

On the judgment debts, he said, “It is equally necessary to highlight the fact that the ministry's current liability for judgment debts is in the region of N75bn.

“The ministry has, however, proposed the sum of N16bn to meet a portion of the outstanding sum in 2016, out of which the Budget Office of the Federation has proposed an extremely low sum of N709.1m, which does not meet even one per cent of the outstanding judgment debts.”

He stated that proposals were earlier made to attend to 800 terrorism cases this year in the original budget estimates sent to the Ministry of Finance.

Malami added, “My ministry is currently processing approximately 800 terrorism cases for prosecution . The resources required for the successful prosecution of these cases as well as the general coordination of the Criminal Justice Sector, as envisaged, were fully captured in the original proposal made by the ministry to the Ministry of Finance.”

He received the backing of the committee, which is chaired by Mr. Razak Atunwa, to look into the financial challenges of the Ministry of Justice.