Abacha loot: US tackles FG over alleged $100m largesse for Kebbi gov
President Muhammadu Buhari
The United States Department of Justice has alleged that the Federal Government of Nigeria, is planning to hand over about $100m out of the money looted by former Head of State, late Gen Sani Abacha, to Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu.
The US Department further stated that the Nigerian government was blocking attempts to recover part of the looted funds allegedly traced to Bagudu, who is the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress governor’s forum.
The Department of Justice made the claim in court papers filed before the District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, according to Bloomberg’s reports.
Bagudu, who is a close ally of Buhari and a prominent member of the APC, was indicted by the US Government for helping Abacha to transfer billions of dollars in the mid 90s.
Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State
According to documents from the Department of Justice, Bagudu spent six months in federal detention in Texas while awaiting extradition to the Island of Jersey.
However, before he was handed over for criminal trial in Jersey, he was said to have quickly agreed to return $163m to Nigeria and was released on bond to Nigeria where he was meant to be prosecuted for money laundering.
But, on returning to Nigeria, Bagudu was cleared to contest in three different election cycles – one as a senator and two as governor – all of which he won and now enjoys immunity as an incumbent governor.
In a report published by Bloomberg on Friday, it was stated that the US Department of Justice claimed the Nigerian government was preventing the US from seizing Bagudu’s alleged loot.
“The Department of Justice also contends that the Nigerian government is hindering US efforts to recover allegedly laundered money it says it has traced to Bagudu. Buhari’s administration says a 17-year-old agreement entitles Bagudu to the funds and prevents Nigeria from assisting the US, according to recent filings from the District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington,” the report says.
“A commitment by Nigeria to transfer the funds to Kebbi state Governor Abubakar Bagudu appears to undermine Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge to quell rampant graft in Africa’s top oil producer,” the report states.