UK recovers $23 mln in loot linked to late Nigerian dictator Abacha

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Late Nigerian military leader General Sani Abacha is shown in this September 1993 file photo

LONDON, May 5 (Reuters) – Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has recovered more than $23 million stolen from Nigeria by the country’s late military dictator Sani Abacha, it said on Thursday, the latest in a series of similar recoveries around the world.

Abacha ruled Africa’s most populous nation and top oil exporter from 1993 until his death in 1998, a period during which he stole up to $5 billion of public money, according to Transparency International. He was never charged.

The money recovered in Britain forms part of a larger pool of funds identified by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as having been misappropriated by Abacha and his associates, the NCA said in a statement.

“The NCA is committed to ensuring that the UK is not a safe haven for criminals to launder their proceeds of crime, and civil recovery of assets is a powerful weapon in this fight,” said Billy Beattie, Asset Denial Senior Manager at the NCA.

Police say about 100 billion pounds ($123 billion) of dirty cash moves through or into Britain every year, buying everything from luxury homes to whole companies.

Leaked troves of financial documents such as the Panama, Paradise and Pandora Papers have documented London’s role as a global money-laundering hub.

The $23 million were recovered after seven years of litigation and international negotiation pursued by the NCA, at the request of the DOJ, the statement said. The funds will be transferred to the DOJ.

An NCA spokesperson did not immediately respond to a query about whether the funds would ultimately return to Nigeria. In the past, countries including the United States and Switzerland have repatriated Abacha loot there.

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: Reuters

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Ousman Jah Web Developer and Graphic Designer Ousman Jah a Gambian national specialized in IT solutions and web development with more than 15 years working experience in the field. A graphics designer and specialist in UX/UI with a plethora of neatly acquired abilities for today’s web design and development. He contributed to most top-level national projects both in the Gambia, Senegal and internationally. He was one of the main actors and contributors to the GAMBIS project on both setting up and design of the National ID, Driver's License Cards etc. He also built and assisted on the IEC website to display live election results online in the 2011 and 2016 Presidential Elections. He has vast experience ranging from administration, HR, Tech departments in management and handling. Also experienced in the new technologies such as cloud hosting, Google Workspace email setting up and worked on Azure as well as AWS services. He was the SharePoint specialist as well as CRM to both customers and company. As part of his expertise, he masters eCard design and implementation with vast experience gained from the GAMBIS ID card project. With an extensive knowledge on a lot of subjects, Ousman believes he is part of the People of the Arts, Sciences, Music, Mathematics, Philosophy... but he chose Creative Arts into Modernized World Modern Design Needs and Technology in the IT World. Over the years, Ousman has managed to blend his passion for Graphic design with modern software technology applications. He studied at the Management Development Institute and earned an ICM Certificate in Professional Computing & Information Processing. Ousman’s strength lies in his ability to respond to multiple tasks where quality is an assured feature. Calm, focus and meticulous makes his fine finishes an envy of other designers in the market. He is a specialist in user manual & documentation illustration as well as a great trainer in any IT related field. He enjoys being a freelance web developer at Web Plus Graphics and has setup various platforms of national interest among which Gambia All Events, Gambian Legends and JobLinks. He is the current Web manager of Alkamba Times.

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