Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has explained how the government of a foreign nation laid claim to hundreds of millions of Dollars stashed abroad by the government of the late military ruler, Sani Abacha.
According to him, the foreign government told the court that it had an interest in the loot because it was saved in its currency, the US dollar.
Malami made this assertion yesterday in Lagos while participating in a seminar organized by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
The seminar with the theme: “Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the Recovery of Stolen Assets in Nigeria: Proposals for Reform”, was in collaboration with Ford Foundation, USA.
The AGF, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on White Collar Crimes, Mr Abiodun Aikomo, also condemned public officials who ferry their loot abroad.
“We have seen instances where the Federal Government of Nigeria engaged counsel to recover our stolen assets and the matter went on for many years,” he said.
“On the eve of a judgment on the recovery of Abacha loot, the government of a country filed an application for joinder, this was a matter that was on for seven years and judgment was going to be delivered the next day.
“The government of the country filed, saying ‘Even though the money is not kept in our bank, even though you would think we do not have any connection with the funds, the money is in our currency and we are talking about hundreds of millions in our currency. So, if you’re moving those funds from our state, then we are interested.’
“That was how the judgment was more or less arrested. So, the people stealing money and taking it out of Nigeria are doing us a lot of evil, because the moment the money leaves Nigeria it assumes another dimension,” he said.