The United States Government has said that the $311 million Abacha loot repatriated to the federal government last week was distinct and separate from an additional $167 million in stolen assets also forfeited in the United Kingdom (UK) and France, as well as $152 million still in active litigation in the UK.
The US government, in a statement issued on Wednesday by its US Mission in Abuja, said that the transfer of funds was an important first step in the disciplined implementation of the agreement.
It said that Nigeria’s continued vigilance, transparency and accountability would ensure the continued progress in the implementation.
The United States noted that it looks forward to continuing to work with Nigeria and its civil society partners to combat corruption and to ensure a successful outcome in the return of these funds, adding that the fight against corruption was an investment in the future of Nigeria.
It stated: “On May 1, the transfer of $311,797,876 from the United States Government to the Federal Republic of Nigeria was completed in accordance with a February 3, 2020 trilateral agreement among the governments of the United States, Nigeria and the Bailiwick of Jersey to repatriate assets the United States forfeited that were traceable to the former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and his co-conspirators.
“The funds returned last week are distinct and separate from an additional $167 million in stolen assets also forfeited in the United Kingdom and France, as well as $152 million still in active litigation in the United Kingdom.”
The US government emphasised that the repatriated funds would be used by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across Nigeria, as authorized by the Nigerian government.
The recovered funds, it reiterated, would help finance the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano road, noting that these investments would support Nigeria’s economic development and benefit all of the Nigerian people.
It added that the tripartite agreement included mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of these projects as well as external oversight.