Federal government has revealed that it has suffered a setback in repatriating £300m stolen funds from the State of Jersey.
The minister of foreign affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama who made this known during a press conference in Abuja said in 2014 that Jersey had repatriated, in two tranches £140m of the loot belonging to the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, which was laundered on his behalf by Mr Raj Bhojwani, an Indian businessman.
He said one of the challenges with repatriating stolen funds was that even after Nigeria and the country hosting the stolen money had reached an agreement, the person who deposited the money might take a legal action to frustrate the repatriation of the funds.
“Often times, what happens is that the people who claim to have ownership will come up with a challenge. For instance, the one in Jersey is about £300m. Everything had been done to repatriate the money; it was no longer contested and then at the last minute, it was contested by the people who were supposed to forfeit the funds.
“So of course, the authorities in Jersey had to oblige. As much as they would have liked to just go ahead to repatriate it, they had to go through some legal procedures because that party will have their lawyers and then we will have to start going through legal issues all over again. So, that is the challenge,” the minister said.
The minister however could not state how much the Buhari administration had recovered since it took over power adding that sometimes, the country holding the stolen funds might make certain demands which required intense negotiation.
Commenting on the Panama Papers Scandal the minister said many countries across the world were not doing anything about it.
He cited an example of the UK, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, whose father was accused of operating offshore accounts, had refused to address the allegation.
Meanwhile, ahead of Nigeria’s democracy day on May 29, President Muhammadu Buhari will reveal names of persons who have voluntarily returned looted public funds.