UK to Return £40m Stolen Funds

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UK to Return £40m Stolen Funds

Postby Richard Akindele » Fri May 30, 2008 1:46 pm

The British government has expressed its willingness to return another £40 million stolen funds recovered from some Nigerian government officials.

This is in addition to the £150,000 cheque handed over to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Michael Aondoakaa, last Wednesday.

The money would be made available after the judicial process in the UK in accordance with its law and with the cooperation of the Attorney General's office.

The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Mr Alderman Lewis, made the disclosure at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, on the outcome of his three-day working visit to Nigeria.

...

The London mayor, who said the country's greatest challenge was corruption, urged the Federal government to intensify effort at fighting the phenomenon.

He however commended Nigeria's anti-graft war for yielding positive results.

Lewis said the UK would continue to assist Nigeria in fighting corruption, adding that the looted monies, which are still in custody of the British government would be returned to the Federal Government unconditionally.

He advised the Federal Government to concentrate on the rule of law, security and provide adequate infrastructure for its citizens.

The Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, James Tansley, had on September 27, 2007 handed over two cheques totalling more than $250,000 (£126,000, 29.3m naira).

The UK Metropolitan Police had said that the amount was only a fraction of the fortune that the former governor of Plateau State, Chief Joshua Dariye and other Nigerian officials had diverted to London.

A Metropolitan police spokeswoman, Helen Kennedy, had told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News website "the two cheques now returned to Nigeria are just the cash seized from Dariye on his arrest".

A cheque for $2 million belonging to former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, was also returned to Nigeria by the British government.

Dariye was on September 2, 2004 arrested in a hotel in London by the London Metropolitan Police over allegations of money laundering and illegal transfer of funds.

But after his arrest, Dariye was released on bail and was to keep appointment with the London police.

But he returned to Nigeria and has refused to make himself available for further interrogation by the London police.

Alamieyeseigha was also on September 15, 2005 arrested in London, UK by the Metropolitan Police on allegation of money laundering.

His arrest had been connected to an earlier interrogation of a lady who was said to have tried to transfer a huge sum of money believed to be between £10 million to £20 million from an account with the HSBC, a prominent bank in London.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200805300092.html
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Postby Richard Akindele » Fri May 30, 2008 2:00 pm

Wonderful, so the UK has decided to return some change to Nigeria. whoopty doo!

This is an age-old problem with western nations. It almost appears as a big conspiracy to keep third world nations poor. Corrupt officials steal money and take them to these western nations. Even though there are anti-money laundering laws in place, the looted funds somehow still make it into western banks.

Western nations love to call Nigeria corrupt, but they conveniently overlook their own role in helping to corrupt Nigeria. The simple fact is that if western nations are honestly interested in shutting the channel through which stolen money is laundered, they could do it very easily. But they aren't.

So don't talk to me about Nigeria being corrupt. You're just as corrupt, as an accomplice in the crime.
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Switzerland - We've Returned All Abacha Loot

Postby Richard Akindele » Thu Jun 05, 2008 4:02 pm

The government of Switzer-land has said it has returned all monies stolen by former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, to Nigeria without any conditions as to how the monies should be spent.

It also said the current Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) from Switzerland to Nigeria is estimated at $4 billion with $400 million as the trade volume between both countries, an improvement from the $150 million, which it was in 1999.

Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, the Embassy of Switzerland Charge D'Affaires, Mr Fabio Baiardi, said the clarifications were made against the backdrop of reports that the stolen funds were returned to the country with conditions.

According to him, the Swiss government only contributed financially to the monitoring after it had requested that the World Bank should include some Nigerian civil society groups in how the money would be spent by the Federal Government.

He gave a breakdown of the returned monies; a first instalment of $290 million transferred on September 1, 2005, a second instalment of $168 million transferred on December 19, 2005 and $40 million transferred at the end of January 2006.

He said $7 million was transferred into a 'blocked account' in Nigeria, as the Swiss government could not identify its origin, adding that the money was still in the blocked account.

Baiardi said his country would continue to collaborate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to fight corruption and money laundering, just like so many European countries are doing.

"We cannot be responsible for what happens in Nigeria, but we wholly support the EFCC's fight against corruption and money laundering," he said.

The Embassy's Migration Advisor, Ms. Patricia Dvoracek, said the embassy provided 10 per cent of N143 million for the partnership on the project "Technical Assistance to Nigeria Immigration Service to deter irregular migration to Europe" with the Nigeria Immigration Service, British High Commission, Dutch Embassy and the Embassy of Ireland.

She also said the Swiss Embassy had partnered the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to fight human trafficking.

Nigeria had recovered a total of $505.5 million from the Swiss authorities being money stolen and stashed away by the late Abacha, according to data released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the World Bank, under a new initiative called the Stolen Asset Recovery (STAR).

While Nigeria was able to readily recover from domestic institutions $800 million of the $3 billion to $5 billion that the late Abacha is estimated to have stolen during his rule, it took five years of legal effort before the Swiss authorities the released $505.5 million.

In all, a little over $1.3 billion has been recovered so far from the late head of state.

Also, British authorities in July 2006 returned $1.9 million illicitly acquired by former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

The conditions attached to how the monies should be spent were for the monitoring of the returned funds by the World Bank in agreement with former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, to use the funds for health, education and infrastructural development.

http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=113336
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