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Crime - May 27, 2022

3 Times Nigeria Recovered Stolen Money from International Bodies

According to the Attorney-General of the Federation of Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, the federal government has discovered that there is at least $2.5 billion of stolen money that needs to be recovered from various countries around the world.

Mr. Malami, who also serves as Minister of Justice, has stated that the money, which amounts to around N1.12 trillion at a conversion rate of £1 to N560, is just a fraction of Nigeria’s looted assets being pursued in nations such as the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland.

The federal government of Nigeria has in the last four years recovered nearly $700 million, about N287 billion at a $1 to N410 exchange rate, in stolen funds kept in foreign nations, according to the minister.

According to the Attorney-General, the federal government was “creating consensus” in a bid to facilitate the recovery of the £2 billion and other stolen funds from various locations.

Here are 3 times Nigeria has recovered stolen money from international bodies.


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1.  Sani Abacha

In May, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) reported the recovery of about $23.5 million in looted funds from the associates and family of the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha.

The recovered funds were part of a larger pool of cash stolen by Abacha and his accomplices in the 1990s. 

Nigeria had previously recovered many other tranches of Abacha cash, the most recent of which was the US $308.8 million laundered in Jersey by Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Bagudu.

According to Transparency International, around $723 million in Abacha plunder was returned to Nigeria from Switzerland in 2006, although the money has been mostly unaccounted for.

Transparency International named Abacha, along with Indonesia’s Suharto and Mobutu Seko of Zaire, now DR Congo, as one of the world’s worst state official thieves.

Abacha is suspected of stealing between three and five billion dollars, the majority of which came from Nigeria’s oil wealth.

2. James Ibori

Former Delta State Governor James Ibori laundered $5.8 million in the United Kingdom, which has been retrieved by UK agencies.

In 2012, Ibori was found guilty of money laundering in the United Kingdom.

Prosecutors claim he stole $165 million (£117 million) from the oil-rich state.

One of his possessions cited in court paperwork for a confiscation order is a Bombardier Challenger plane.

Also, the sum of $5.8 million was recovered from Ibori’s wife, sister, and financial agent, all of whom were found guilty of money laundering.

3. Diezani Alison-Madueke

According to Abdulrasheed Bawa, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over $153 million and 80 properties have been recovered from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke. 

Mr. Bawa estimated that Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s 80 properties were worth $80 million.

The petroleum minister oversaw the opaque Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) between 2010 and 2015 under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. But after she left the office, Mrs. Alison-Madueke fled to the United Kingdom and has remained there.

Since her departure from office, her name has appeared in multiple corruption charges instituted by the EFCC, either as the principal defendant or as an accomplice.


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