Honoured By Jonathan At Home, “Kleptocrat” Abacha’s $458million Loot Is Seized In America

Former military Head of State, Sani Abacha

A week after President Goodluck Jonathan conferred an award for “Outstanding Promoter of Unity, Patriotism and National Development” on former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, the American Department of Justice Wednesday froze more than $458 million in corruption proceeds hidden in bank accounts around the world by the late dictator and his conspirators.

AllAfrica.com, a pan African news platform, reported from Washington DC Wednesday that a civil forfeiture complaint unsealed in the United States District Court in the District of Columbia “seeks recovery of more than $550 million in connection with the largest kleptocracy forfeiture action brought in the department’s history.”

The restraint of funds announced today includes approximately $313 million in two bank accounts in the Bailiwick of Jersey and $145 million in two bank accounts in France. In addition, four investment portfolios and three bank accounts in the United Kingdom with an expected value of at least $100 million have also been restrained, but the exact amounts in the accounts will be determined at a later date.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Assistant Director in Charge Valerie Parlave of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.

“General Abacha was one of the most notorious kleptocrats in memory, who embezzled billions from the people of Nigeria while millions lived in poverty,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman. “This is the largest civil forfeiture action to recover the proceeds of foreign official corruption ever brought by the department. Through our Kleptocracy Initiative, we are seizing the assets of foreign leaders who steal funds that properly belong to the citizens they serve. Today’s action sends a clear message: we are determined and equipped to confiscate the ill-gotten riches of corrupt leaders who drain the resources of their countries.”

“We will not let the U.S. banking system be a tool for dictators to hide their criminal proceeds,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave. “This action demonstrates the FBI’s ability to combat international corruption and money laundering by seizing the assets of those involved. I want to thank the special agents, financial analysts and prosecutors whose hard work over the years resulted in today’s announcement.”

The over $458 million in frozen funds and the additional assets named in the complaint represent the proceeds of corruption during and after the military regime of General Abacha, who assumed the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through a military coup on Nov. 17, 1993, and held that position until his death on June 8, 1998.

No mention was made of cooperation by the Nigerian government which last week, during the Nigerian Centenary celebrations, honoured Mr. Abacha as one of the 100 most astounding individuals that contributed to the country’s existence.

The award given to Mr. Abacha, whose regime was characterised by corruption, state-sponsored assasinations, and human rights abuses, has been condemned by several Nigerians.

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, rejected his own award, citing among other reasons, the award bestowed on the late dictator.


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  • Enemona

    These funds should be held in trust for the people of Nigeria until we get a trusted government, it should not be repatriated because they would be ‘relooted’. They may even be returned to or shared with the Abacha ‘crookmily’ since the new government has allied with the Abacha ‘filthnasty’ (crooked for dynasty).

  • kayode Olufade

    The move by GEJ was political and as usual ill advised. The award ceremony must have gulped so much money that could’ve changed a lot of Nigerian lives but because so many bad advisers surround the man he can’t seem to see straight. To be fair to him though, he didn’t start this wayward attitude in politics but this was his chance to have made a difference

    • Night Crawler

      Well said, but he has blew the opportunity and can never be elected back in office…

      • Pete

        It’s obvious to followers of your comments that you are looking for excuses to justify why GEJ should be replaced by an APC miscreant in 2015.
        But that’s a mere wish …and wishes are not horses!
        Today’s Thisday has a remarkable piece on your Tinubu. You may do well to read it.
        While GEJ may not be excelling in the way ordinary Nigerians would’ve loved, he’s still preferable to any goon your APC may throw up as a presidential candidate.
        Quite a number of your type will be hospitalised at the results of the 2015 presidential elections.

        • Leslie

          Fool.Why bring politis into the conversation?You’re trying to work harder so that you’ll get a good share of the 300million voted to counter media propaganda abi,idiot.The conversation is about Abacha,if you have nothing to say,go outside and eat grass,COW.
          There would be no need for your type or for 300milion to be wasted if GEJ sincerely fights corruption and channes looted funds to develop the country.
          Buy here you are,always fooling yourself,thinking Nigerians are as dumb as you and your president.2015 is around the corner and as you stated earlier,wishes ain’t horses man.
          Be bold enough to display your full name and see what nigerians will do to peope like you after the 2015 elections.GOAT.

        • Night Crawler

          Let the best party wins in 2015 general election, as long as GEJ is involve, his going down, he turns northern state into warzone where BH keeps killing innocent people and many things are going down all because of his hypocrisy

        • Chiemele

          Are you exactly lauding GEJ for giving awards to an International rogue?I pray your comment was sponsored even at that, its at best disgraceful, distasteful and insulting to the deprived masses.

  • segun

    Walahi,if you ask me,I really don’t know what is wrong with President Jonathan, he seems too dumb to get little things right. He has succeeded in sending out a wrong signal to the United States and the international community on his fight against corruption in this country. His tenure is full of confusions, but this one is one confusion too many.

    • Night Crawler

      You got it right, GEJ lacks leadership and his turning Nigeria into something else, we are in the era of sacking now, next week who knows what the clueless man will do to dis-stabilize this country

    • Ali Abdulkadir

      You are very mistaken! GEJ is no where near being dumb or confused. He knows exactly what he is doing and he is loving it. Why else would he be scheming to come back in 2015? The matter is clearly in the hands of Nigerians. If we like, we allow him come back, if we like, we look for a better alternative. As we lay our bed, so shall we lie on it. All I know is, nobody should come and cry ‘fowl’ if we fold our hands and let him come back.

  • segun

    Madam World Bank should better make a haste and resign from this government, in case she does not know, her hard earned reputation is getting dented by the day.

    • Tim

      Madam Ngozi Iweala Coordinating minister for finance, you gave the eulogy to Sani Abacha, you lauded him so highly I was wondering what is the value of the fact that you worked at the world bank. Now this news. Madam coordinating minister for finance an economy-are you a collaborator in this whole corruption and covering up corruption? It seems you are. I am disappointed, really disappointed at this so-called diaspora Nigerians. It seems you are just using your diaspora to cheat us. Madam coordinating minister , your complicit is LOUD.

    • En

      Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has no reputation to protect. Was it not under her watch that over N1 trillion was fraudulently paid out as subsidy for fake fuel importation when only about N250 billion was BUDGETED for it? She was busy signing off Nigeria’s money while taking her cut in the greatest looting of Nigeria’s resources.

      Ngozi will go to jail!

      • redeem

        -Nigeria has recovered $1.3 billion, the largest tranche of which – $500 million – came from Switzerland in 2005. A further $1.1 billion – in France, the UK, Luxembourg and the Channel island of Jersey – is still tied up in legal proceedings. “Every other country where a final court decision was taken, paid back immediately,” Monfrini said, taking issue with Liechtenstein for failing to accept the Nigerian guarantee relating to the Strasbourg case.

        “They don’t want to trust these people because they are Africans, although the balance sheet of Nigeria is a lot better than France or Spain. I would call this a neo-colonialist attitude,” he added.

        Nigeria has engaged the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery unit, Star, set up by Okonjo Iweala herself when she was at the bank, to monitor the use of the funds once they are returned – as it has done with other recovered assets. But Liechtenstein wants the World Bank to play a greater role as guarantor.

    • Night Crawler

      GEJ government is compromised… They are all corrupt we hope and pray things gets better in this country

  • Night Crawler

    That’s what we keep seeing in Nigeria, Looters awarding Co-looters this country is crap under the era of GEJ, even dead abacha is better than living GEJ…

  • Barrister Brown

    I can smell a rat here! Why is the seizure coming shortly after the award to Abacha? Is it a subtle way by US Government to reprimand Jonathan over the award? Abacha may be very bad, but honestly, he equally touched some lives, especially through PTF. Those casting aspersion at Abacha are not saints either! Before God, there is no small or big sinner, all are sinners. So, enough of this Abacha bashing. IBB that annuled Abiola’s election and got thousands killed in the process was given the award; Buhari that killed innocent drug traffickers using retrospective laws was also given. OBJ that razed Odi and Zaki Biam flat was also given. Even Shonekan that pretended to be President installed by the military in clear betrayal of his kinsman, Abiola, got the award, so why not Abacha? Some people’s self righteousness is nauseating! They are like the Pharisees that Jesus was always attacking then to mind the log in their eyes rather than talking about the speck in other peoples’ eyes!

    • Enemona

      Nonsense! You’re either suffering from memory loss or you were too young during Abacha’s reign of terror.

      Abacha did not only loot, he destroyed lives and held the country in limbo for years. He was a maximum ruler, he left no space for criticism and he unleashed killers like Al Mustapha and Sergeant Rogers on the people of Nigeria. How many leaders in Nigeria bombed their citizens? How many leaders have sent assasins after activists, we all lived in darkness. The level of looting was unprecedented. I am no vouching for other leaders but Abacha was a different breed, his death was a major blessing to this country, if he had ruled for more years, Nigeria would have become history.

    • Barrister Williams

      Barrister Brown, can you please face the facts of and in the story please? The facts are whether this is true. Please do not muddle. Do not bring in tribalism. We are talking about STEALING PUBLIC resources. You can talk about your tribalism if you want, but please DEAL WITH THE FACT THAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HEADS OF STATE THAT LOOT NIGERIAN PUBLIC RESOURCES. Now if you have information on others please bring it out to help struggling Nigerians. Do not bring tribe into this please.

      • Barrister Brown

        I am not a tribalist. Am a proud Nigerian from the East. I am not defending Abacha at all. All am saying is let us not cast the first stone as we are equally guilty of misdeeds, no matter how little, and God will judge all impartially! The leaders many are celebrating today are serial riggers of elections and sponsors of violence and are worse than Abacha! Even, those that masterminded his death together with Abiola as political solution to June 12 are all guilty before God. Afterall, Soyinka was a friend of IBB as Military President before they parted ways! Maybe if he had fought him right from day one of coming to power through a coup, Abacha’s rulership would never have happened! I rest my case on this matter. God bless Nigeria and forgive the self righteous among us!

        • ihatesycophant

          Mr. Man I really don’t know what you are trying to bring out of your argument. You read a piece that someone looted $458m of our money but all you can say is comparing him to others that also looted .You are a small minded fellow. Why not face the issue and stop shifting blames. They say someone stole #1 but you are now arguing and telling us another person also stole #3. What you are telling us invariably is that please don’t scold the person that stole #1 but try and kill the one that stole #3 first before you talk about that of #1. You are a small minided and shallow fellow. Grow up boy!
          Remember, those you are trying to defend have made money and wealth for their unborn children, but me and you are still looking for ways to break the barrier. You will continue suppoting blindly and still remain a puppet and average being that you desired. Change and be objective in your argument or you sow bad seeds for unborn generation.

          • Barrister Brown

            Honestly, am old enough to know my right from my left! Read my argument well before you crucify me. I am not holding brief for Abacha. Far from it. All am saying is cast not the first stone because you are equally guilty of some misdeeds no matter how small. In fact, many of you will be shocked when you get to heaven and you discover that Abacha is one of the ushers welcoming people into Paradise! The same way people like you would have condemned the thief on the right hand on the cross with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, but remember, he was saved at the very last minute!

    • Night Crawler

      Its GEJ that brings silly things up, people have forgotten Abacha. Now Abacha children are writing wole Soyinka, because Soyinka says he can’t share award with Abacha, he keeps spreading the crisis in their party with people of the country

    • Night Crawler

      Its GEJ that brings silly things up, people have forgotten Abacha. Now Abacha children are writing wole Soyinka, because Soyinka says he can’t share award with Abacha, he keeps spreading the crisis in their party with people of the country

    • Chiemele

      What exactly do you input. All have sinned so no need for righteousness, no need for change. Its people like you who drag the country to ruins. The foul odour you percieve is not from a rat but the stench of corruption, bad administration and misplaced priorities. When a man losses shame and can justify evil, he becomes less than an animal.

    • adebayo

      Let me humour you a bit Mr. Brown-given your post which justifies the looting of Nigerian treasury and given the exposure of this looting by both local and foreign media, this may just be why President Jonathan is earmarking 300 hundred million naira to fight “foreign” media who according to him and his acolytes in the presidency “misrepresent” the image of Nigeria! What do you think Mr. Brown?

    • Naijagogoodagain

      You are right on the account that we’ve never have a real president in Nigeria, just maniac and looters! But Abacha is the worst( close second is Jonathan ). Hence he did not deserve any award.
      From your writing I could see you are a religious apologist, and you will excuse bad leadership with religion! Time we separate state from religion so that our country moves forward!

    • Naijagogoodagain

      If you have forgotten the litmus test is this; which other leader do you think Nigerians would have been happy to see dead? Despite all the others crime; it was only Abacha we danced on the street to see dead!

  • Teskyman

    Adamu, so the MTN IMDF number is actually 08103645595. Adamu is that your pseudo number? Chai, so morons like you will fall for this. I’m out pls.

  • esaulogbon

    Abacha was an extremely wicked man… and a thief. We are always unfortunate to have bad people ruling us… we must wake up.

  • Efe1

    Very soon they will say it is APC that made GEJ give this award to abacha. Or that the award was given before GEJ became president, that he only announced it. Yeye dey small. This really brings to focus GEJ gutter sense of judgement.

  • Ogbologbo


    • esaulogbon

      Tell your children about PDP led looting and a shameless government. Government that rewards criminality, looting, murder, impunity and all kinds of crimes against humanity. When I heard the government and the president saying the centenary awards were for the most 100 outstanding Nigerians, and I saw Abacha’s name… I knew there is no hope for Nigeria except we rise against the evil government and chase it away in 2015. Not only chasing them away… but chasing them into jail.

  • Lanre

    Message for Sadiq and Gumsu Abacha.
    Sadiq and Gumsu Abacha, where are you? Little ones. This too is Wole Soyinka’s fault. It was Wole Soyinka that called the FBI and told the agency to seize funds stolen by your rogue father. I keep saying it, this is why Nigeria will never work. You, children of disgraced, thieving rulers will never lord it over my generation. Never. For Sadiq, your philosophical treatise is in itself contradictory.

    1). Your father was a thief and a rogue (Law of Identity).
    2). Your father announced the overthrows of government that were corrupt but was worse. And he kept lying (Law of Excluded Middle).
    3). Your father was not a leader. He was a sectionalist, thieving marauding scoundrel who killed people for their resources. (Law of Contradiction).

    Nigeria is the modern hell. Where the majority are slaves in their own country. People like you want to take over from where your fathers left. There is nothing else that leads to war and anarchy. You people should keep quiet for ever!

  • Ali Abdulkadir

    GEJ does not ‘give a damn’ about all of these. All he cares about is returning to power in 2015. Meanwhile, poor and gullible Nigerian people may make it a reality for him. We are curiously watching!

  • redeem

    where has this news been all this while–is it just being released by the Americans-