A UK court has decided that £6.9 million, allegedly looted during the tenure of former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, should be repatriated to Nigeria.
The funds, believed to have been misappropriated by government officials between 2009 and 2014, were reportedly disguised as allocations for arms and munitions purchases aimed at combating the Boko Haram insurgency.
According to reports seen by Dockaysworld, the court determined that the money deposited in a Jersey bank account was likely stolen by Nigerian government officials in 2014.
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The transfer of the funds was allegedly masked as government-sanctioned contracts for arms purchases during Boko Haram incursions in Nigeria from 2009 to 2015.
In November last year, the Attorney General of Jersey, Mark Temple, served a forfeiture notice under the Forfeiture of Assets (Civil Proceedings) (Jersey) Law 2018 to seize the funds.
The Royal Court granted the application last week, and the funds will now be returned to Nigeria.
In a statement, Jersey’s Law Officers Department said: “The Attorney General successfully demonstrated that the tainted property belonged to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It was more likely than not stolen from the people of Nigeria by high-ranking officials within certain departments of the Nigerian Government in 2014.
“The tainted property was transferred to Jersey as part of a corrupt scheme in operation at the time, which used third-party contractors to siphon off government funds for the personal benefit of Nigerian officials and their associates.”
Temple said the court order concluded a “complex and long-running asset forfeiture investigation”.
He added: “The Economic Crime and Confiscation Unit of the Law Officers’ Department, with support from the Financial Intelligence Unit Jersey, has worked in close partnership with the Federal Republic of Nigeria to recover the tainted property on behalf of the people of Nigeria.
“I am also grateful to the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa for its assistance to ECCU’s investigation.
“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.”
It is not the first time that the Jersey authorities have seized money funnelled into the Island from Nigeria.
In 2020, more than $300 million embezzled by General Sani Abacha and hidden in Jersey bank accounts was repatriated to Nigeria following a landmark agreement.
The huge sum was moved through the United States’ banking system before being held in accounts in Jersey in the name of Doraville Properties Corporation, a British Virgin Islands company.