Nigeria Reaches Deal For Return Of $500m Of Stolen Funds

Justice Minister and Attorney General Abubakar Malami


Nigeria has reached a deal with some foreign countries for the return of $500 million in public funds stolen by officials, Justice Minister and Attorney General Abubakar Malami said.

Countries including the U.S., the U.K. and France are helping to repatriate the funds, Malami told reporters on Wednesday in Abuja. “We are almost concluding the processes,” he said.

He spoke after the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

“Nigeria has engaged other countries, including the UK, US, France and others, in further negotiations relating to repatriation and I am happy to report that we are almost concluding the processes relating to the repatriation of additional $500 million,”Malami said.

Malami said this is in addition to the $322 million released by Switzerkand after negotiations.

“You will recall that in December 2017, the federal government participated in a global forum on asset recovery in Washington DC during which Nigeria and Switzerland signed an agreement that paved the way for the repatriation of $322 million.

“What transpired was only reported back to the council today. The report today was not only about the signing of the agreement but the report of the eventual repatriation of the amount of money that was signed and agreed to be repatriated during the forum,” the minister said.

He added that FEC also approved N500 million for lawyers who represented the federal government towards recovering N330 billion from telecoms giants, MTN.

He said: “FEC approved the payment of professional fees to lawyers engaged by Federal Government relating to the MTN case instituted against the Federal Government in pursuance of penalty of over N1 trillion imposed by the government on MTN.

“MTN as you will recall, instituted a case seeking to restrain the federal government from recovering the over N1 trillion imposed on it.

“The federal government engaged the services of lawyers to put up defence, the case was eventually settled by the parties amicably and arising from that settlement, the lawyers were entitled to their fees.

He said the amount approved for payment is less than one percent of the fee instead of the internationally recognised fee which is pegged at five per cent.”