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Buhari’s dilemma; how to recover $550m Abacha loot tied in USA

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bUHARI AND BABANGIDA

The US has reportedly resolved to return to Nigeria, $480 million believed to have been stolen by former head of state Sani Abacha and his family, but the money is currently tied by pending lawsuits and the US executive arm of government cannot override the judiciary.

The decision to repatriate the money was taken at a meeting between the US Department of Justice and Nigeria’s Justice ministry.

Nigeria’s Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, also attended the meeting.

The Attorney-General, Mr Abubakar Malami, disclosed the promise while commending the US for setting up a Kleptocracy Unit, which will assist to track looted funds and money laundered by public officials from other nations.

However, the problem is that two military former heads of state is on record as having stated that the late military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, did not loot the national treasury contrary to the general impression.

Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who ruled Nigeria between 1983 and 1985, and his successor, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, gave Abacha the clean bill in Kano on 8th June 2008 after the remembrance prayers marking 10 years of the death of Abacha, who ruled between 1993 and 1998.

Al Mulstapha is also about to release a book stating that Abacha never looted. The same thing Buhari said about Abacha.

“Buhari who said Abacha never stole now wants to receive Abacha’s recovered loots by the US. Height of hypocrisy and lies. Who and what are these people protecting and why? These people are taking Nigerians as fools.” — US Attorney 

mAJOR aL mUSTAPHAMajor Hamza Al-Mustapha came to national limelight as Chief Security Officer to the Head of State in the General Sanni Abacha military regime which governed Nigeria between 1993 and 1998. Al-Mustapha was an operative in the Intelligence Branch of the Nigerian Army and subsequently became one of the minders of the then army chief, Gen. Abacha. Following Abacha’s dissolution of the country’s democratic structures in November, 1993 and his appointment as military head of state, Al-Mustapha was appointed as his Chief Security Officer, CSO. 

The Abacha family and its associates had forfeited more than $550 million and £95,910 in 10 accounts and six investment portfolios linked to them in France, Britain, British Virgin Islands and the US.

The US Department of Justice, had in a letter to the Nigeria Federal Government, identified the accounts where the Abacha loot was hidden. 

Meanwhile lawmakers in the Congress of the United States of America may soon vote on a bill that will allow President Barack Obama and his government to set aside all or part of Abacha loot recovered in the U.S. for victims of the Boko Haram insurgency. 

Elombah.com is in possession of further documents showing contrary to what is being reported, the actual amount is $550 million and not $480 million that has been circulated in the media.

The money is currently tied up in court due to a pending lawsuit issued by a Nigerian born attorney Godwin Nnaka who started the process and who was hired by President Obasanjo.

Our report also revealed that Mr Nnaka has been replaced by President Buhari’s attorney general Malami because he refused to give 70% of his fees to AG Abubakar Malami.

Malami transfered the case that was started over twelve years ago to a new attorney who was never part of the litigation because the new lawyer agreed to share his fees with him. The initial lawyer Nnaka therefore filed a suit in the US court to tie up the release of the money and to expose AG Malami and Governor Badugu. 

The U.S. was one of the earliest destinations late Sani Abacha and his family chose for their illegally acquired wealth.

Mohammed Abacha and his late brother, Ibrahim, opened accounts with Citibank, New York, in 1992 using the aliases Chinquinto, Gelsobella and Navarrio.

Three years later, they opened a business account with the name Morgan Procurement. The Abachas gave a US-French citizen, named Alain Ober, power of attorney over their New York and London bank accounts.

By 1999 when a U.S. Senate Committee began investigating Abacha loot, the accounts had recorded more than $110 million transactions including $47 million that passed through the New York accounts within six months and $37 million found in one account in 1995.

Mr. Ober and other officials of Citibank testified before the U.S. Senate back in 1999, admitting to moving money for the Abachas but claiming that they were not aware of their clients’ true identity.

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