Abacha loot hidden in 12 nations, ICPC chair claims

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Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye

Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, has said the loot of the late former military ruler, General Sanni Abacha, are stashed in 12 countries.

He therefore charged the United Nations to expand the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ICPC boss disclosed this yesterday in his address to the 42nd conference of the Nigerian Society of International Law themed: “Is International Law at the Crossroads” in Lagos.

He noted that the amount of money spent to recover the funds was much, stating that that asset recovery was a crucial aspect of the collective anti-corruption crusade globally.

Owasanoye also sought the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

He said: “ There is a case going on at the moment on the Malabu oil and Gas (deal). Nigeria is an interested party in that case and is asking for compensation for the corruption that was inflicted on the country by the illegal award of that licence.

“Nigeria is presently waiting for the return of about $400 million from the U.S. which is part of the Abacha loot. We have $322 million returned from Switzerland two years ago which is being used for the conditional cash transfer and we have $3 million abandoned in England as part of proceeds from the Malabu oil transaction.”

He stated that the principles of law meant that the domestic court must recognize the claim of another country to confiscated property acquired through the commission of an offence.

The ICPC chief explained that effective provisions on asset recovery were to support the efforts of states to redress the harsh effects of corruption while at the same time, communicate a strong a message to corrupt officials.