Stolen assets totaling £6.9 million ($8.9 million) are set to be returned to Nigeria following a court ruling.
Jersey’s Attorney General issued a forfeiture notice in November, prompting the Royal Court in Jersey to decide that the money, held in a Jersey bank account, was likely stolen by Nigerian government officials in 2014.
The funds, initially disguised as government-approved contracts for arms purchases during Boko Haram incursions in Nigeria from 2009 to 2015, will now be negotiated for return with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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Jersey’s government believes that a significant portion of the money meant for legitimate arms deals was diverted through foreign bank accounts linked to shell companies.
The Attorney General’s office contends that these funds went to family members of the former ruling party and were distributed among its members during the 2015 general elections in Nigeria, with the tainted assets intended for use in an “illicit transaction.”
Mark Temple KC, His Majesty’s Attorney General, highlighted the close collaboration between the Government of Jersey and the Federal Republic of Nigeria in recovering the property on behalf of the Nigerian people.
He emphasized the effectiveness of the 2018 Forfeiture Law in reclaiming proceeds of corruption and restoring the money to victims of crime.
Temple stated, “This case again demonstrates the effectiveness of the 2018 Forfeiture Law in recovering the proceeds of corruption and restoring that money to victims of crime.
I now intend to negotiate an asset return agreement with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”