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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

CLEEN Foundation lauds France on return of $150m Abacha loot to Nigeria 

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….…charges FG to utilize funds for betterment of Nigerians

CLEEN Foundation has commended the French Government for the recent return of $150 million stolen from Nigeria by former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, after a prolonged legal procedure.

Recall that these repatriated funds have been under a court forfeiture order since 2014.

CLEEN Foundation made the commendation in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Mr. Gad Peter on Wednesday.

Peter, in the statement, charged the Nigeria government to, as such, utilise the funds for the betterment and development of all Nigerians.

The Executive Director urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Nigerian Attorney General of the Federation, and the French Government to follow through with the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR).

The statement reads: “The Foundation profoundly commends the Nigerian Government for the tenacious efforts towards the repatriation of stolen assets for the benefit of the Nigerian people.

“Although Nigeria has recorded good progress in the repatriation of stolen assets, the journey is still countless miles ahead. We believe that a lot more can be done seeing that the 2019 database of World Bank/UNODC estimates repatriated funds and frozen assets close to $5bn stashed abroad.

“Considering the repatriated funds from France, conversations have reignited on accountability, financial and fiscal discipline within the country. As you may recall, the process for the recovery of the stolen funds from France started under the administration of the former president Muhammadu Buhari with a request submitted by the Federal Ministry of Justice, and in agreement with the US Administration where it was agreed that the recovered stolen funds will be used in the form of grants for developmental projects.

“Hence, CLEEN Foundation, calls on the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu led government to channel the repatriated funds into critical sectors such as infrastructure, healthcare, and education, thereby strengthening the country’s socio-economic development while abiding by the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) principle which is built on partnership, mutual interest, transparency and accountability, identifying and ensuring that victims benefit from the return, and that proceeds of crime do not benefit persons involved in the commission of these offence(s), while strengthening the development of anti-corruption measures and inclusion of non-governmental/civil society stakeholders.

“The Foundation is delighted that the recovery of the Abacha loot from France signifies a substantial step in Nigeria’s fight against corruption and mismanagement of public funds.

“While we acknowledge that challenges persist, continued efforts, both domestically and internationally, are vital to ensuring the full recovery of these stolen assets and their effective utilization for the betterment of the Nigerian people.

“We equally urge His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Attorney General of the Federation, and the French Government to follow through with the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR).

“CLEEN Foundation is currently the Civil society organization monitoring the effective utilization of the Abacha loot III as complimentary funds for the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Express way, the Abuja-Kano Road and the Second Niger Bridge which was commissioned by the former president of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for the benefit of all Nigerian people”.

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