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Reps pledge support towards recovery of $458m looted funds in USA

By News Express on 09/10/2016

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The House of Representatives have pledged support towards the recovery of the sum of $458 million looted in Nigeria and forfeited to government of the United States of America.

To this end, the House unveiled plans to interface with the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami to meet the U.S. Congress men and women who initiated the repatriation move.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by Johnson Agbonayinma (PDP-Edo), who raised alarm over the tendency of Nigeria losing the sum of N128 billion from other looted funds if proactive steps are not taken.

Some of the lawmakers who spoke in favour of the motion are Beni Lar (PDP-Plateau); Jide Jimoh (APC-Lagos) and Mohammed Wudil.

In his lead debate, Agbonayinma noted that in 2013, as part of its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, the United State Department of Justice commenced forfeiture proceeding to confiscate $550 million that had been corruptly obtained.

“A portion of the loot valued at $458 million that belongs to Nigeria had now been forfeited to US by a judgment of the district court for the District of Columbia,” he said.

According to him, in August 2014, following assets traced by United States Department of Justice in conjunction with counterparts in the UK and France, properties were discovered to be proceeds of corruption originated from Nigeria.

He added that the US Department of Justice had earlier confiscated and returned over $168 million to victim nations.

“Asset recovery is a fundamental principle of United Nations Convention against Corruption where high level corruption had plundered the national wealth, and where resources are badly needed for reconstruction and the rehabilitation of societies under new government.

“Whereas in the case of the embezzlement of public funds, one of the manners in which the confiscated assets could be disposed of is as compensation to the victims affected by the underlying crime,” Agbonayinma said.

He however, expressed dismay that one Attorney Godson Nnaka, without proof of mandate from the Federal Government, was laying claim to 40 percent of the forfeited assets in the amount of $458 million by instituting a claimant suit in court.

On her part, Beni Lar (PDP-Plateau) applauded the motion, cautioning that the allegation was very serious and that there should be proper investigation before jumping to conclusion.

Jide Jimoh (APC-Lagos) emphaised the need for the repatriation of the funds to avoid being hijacked by the cabals.

“It should be repatriated to the country. The country is not broke, rather its money is left outside and should be brought back,” he said.

•Sourced from Business Day (Nigeria)

Source News Express

Posted 09/10/2016 2:57:34 PM





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