The United Kingdom, United States and France have agreed to repatriate $500 million, being part of huge sums of money stolen by former military leader, late Gen. Sanni Abacha to Nigeria.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Malam Abubakar Malami, gave this hint while briefing journalists at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.
Malami said that the planned repatriation was sequel to negotiations between the Federal Government and the three countries.
Specifically, the minister said that the processes that will ensure the repatriation of the stolen money and the aftermath were discussed at the FEC meeting.
This is even as he confirmed that the Council also approved the payment of N500 million as legal fee to lawyers engaged in the litigation between the Federal Government and MTN over the N1 trillion fine imposed on the latter by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).
He said: “The council approved the payment of professional fees to lawyers engaged by the federal government relating to the MTN case instituted against the federal government in pursuance of penalty of over N1 trillion imposed by the government on MTN.
“MTN, as you will recall, instituted a case seeking to retrain the federal government from recovering the over N1 trillion imposed on it. The federal government engaged the services of lawyers to put up defence on its behalf. As a result, the case was eventually settled by the parties amicably and arising from that settlement the lawyers were entitled to their fees.
“The federal government has now sanctioned the payment of N500 million for the N330 billion agreed upon for the alleged certain breaches in their operations. This amount is less than one per cent of the fee instead of the internationally recognised fee which is pegged at five per cent”, the minister added.
Making further clarification on efforts of the government to ensure that Nigeria’s stolen assets are recovered through all legal and diplomatic means, Malami explained that there was a report on the global forum on assets recovery in which Nigeria participated last December and through which the country has been making some progress in its stolen assets recovery drive.
According to him, Nigeria did not only participate at the forum but had the deal with Switzerland that paved the way for the repatriation of $322 million relating to looted assets and on the account of which the stolen money was repatriated back to Nigeria.
He explained: “What transpired was only reported back to the Council today. The report today was not only about the signing of the agreement but the report of the eventual repatriation of the amount of money that was signed and agreed to be repatriated during the forum.
“Nigeria has also engaged other countries including the UK, US, France and others in further negotiations relating to repatriation and I am happy to report that we are almost concluding the processes relating to the repatriation of additional $500 million”, Malami confirmed.