The sum of £211,000,000 (N81.9 billion) has been seized from a Jersey bank account that belonged to late General Sani Abacha.
Abacha was military head of state, from November 1999, until his death on June 8, 1998.
He reportedly laundered money through the United States of America, into the Channel Islands, and now, that money has been recovered.
The Metro, a free newspaper published in London, the United Kingdom, reported that the money was put in accounts held in Jersey, by Doraville Properties Corporation, a British Virgin Islands company.
The newspaper said the money is now being held by the government until authorities in Jersey, the US and Nigeria come to an agreement on how it should be distributed.
“Any money that Jersey does keep will be put into the Criminal Confiscation Fund, which is used to pay for a variety of projects.
“In the past, the fund had been used for the new police station and developments at La Moye Prison. It is expected that even more money held by Doraville is likely to be seized and paid into the Civil Asset Recovery Fund in the future,” the report said.
In 2014, at the request of the US authorities, the Island’s Attorney General applied for, and the Royal Court granted, a restraining order over the Jersey bank account balance of Doraville.
“The purpose of the restraining order was to preserve the money until a final civil asset recovery order could be registered in the Royal Court,” Metro reported. Doraville applied to the Royal Court, for the restraint order to be discharged, but, the Royal Court dismissed the application in 2016.
Then, in 2017, Doraville challenged the Royal Court’s decision, taking the case to Jersey’s Court of Appeal.
That challenge was, again, rejected.
Finally, following the decision of Jersey’s Court of Appeal, Doraville made an application to appeal against the restraint order before the Privy Council – Jersey’s ultimate appellate court.
In February 2018, the Privy Council announced its rejection of this final legal challenge.
Last year, the Nigerian government received $322 million from Switzerland, as part of the Abacha loot.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the money has been utilised by the Muhammadu Buhari administration, to make the Conditional Cash Transfer of a monthly amount of N5,000 to more than 300,000 poor homes across the nation, under the Social Investment Programme.
He added that the spending was in line with the Memorandum of Understanding signed between tNigeria and Switzerland; as a condition for releasing the funds.