The Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede has disclosed that the United States Government threatened to retrieve the $308million looted and stashed abroad by former Head of State, the late Gen Sani Abacha, if it is ”stolen again” in Nigeria after being repatriated.
Recall that the Federal Government and United States government signed a repatriation pact on February 4, for the return of the looted money.
Speaking last Friday during an anti-corruption walk organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Lagos, Olukoyede said;
“Two weeks ago, I was privileged to be on the team that went to recover $308million for Nigeria. They are from Washington.
“You know what the Oyinbos told us when we wanted to sign the treaty? They had the audacity to look into our eyes and said: ‘If you people steal this money again, we will collect it back from you.’
“I stood up against them, I said: ‘We are not a corrupt nation. A few people might have stolen money, but Nigeria is not a corrupt nation. We have a lot of youths who are not corrupt.
“And you know it is not their fault, (they said that) because they have seen recovered loot being looted again.”
It is speculated that Abacha stole about $5 billion during his 5-year regime as Nigeria’s head of state. Most of the money he looted has been recovered from different countries around the world.
A quick check on the recently signed repatriation pact, revealed that the Nigerian government will repay any funds lost as a result of any new corruption or fraud to the account established to hold the returned assets.
It reads in part;
“The funds will be used by the Nigerian Independent Sovereign Authority for three infrastructure projects in strategic economic zones across Nigeria.
“To ensure that the funds are used responsibly and for the good of the nation, the agreement includes mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of these projects as well as external oversight, and it requires Nigeria to repay any funds lost as a result of any new corruption or fraud to the account established to hold the returned assets.
“This return reflects the growing international consensus that countries must work together to ensure stolen assets are returned in a transparent and accountable manner.”