US returns $954,000 loot belonging to late ex-Bayelsa Gov, Alamieyeseigha
The United States of America, USA, has repatriated the sum of $950, 000, which was looted by a former Governor of Bayelsa State, late Mr. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, back to Nigeria.
The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Mary Beth Leonard, who signed the Asset Return Agreement with the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, at the Federal Ministry of Justice headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, stressed that the returned loot should be used to improve healthcare infrastructure in Bayelsa state.
The Attorney-General of Bayelsa state, Mr. Biriyai Dambo, SAN, was equally present at the official handover ceremony of the recovered loot.
In her speech, the US Ambassador said her country would continue to deny safe heaven to corrupt public officials
She disclosed that over 80 corrupt leaders where last year, denied entry into the US.
On his part, Malami, whose speech was read by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Beatrice Jeddy-Agba, commended the US government for ensuring that looted funds are returned to Nigeria.
The AGF noted that Nigeria has continued to enjoy favourable consideration from the US, not only in its agreement to return the funds that were looted from the Bayelsa state treasury, “but in other pending cases such as Galactica, Blue Assets, Saborne, amongst others”.
He said: “You may recall that this asset return arose from the forfeiture and recovery of approximately $1million USD linked to the corrupt practices of former Bayelsa state governor, D. S. P Alamieyeseigha.
“The United States Government, in collaboration with the Federal Republic of Nigeria initiated and completed forfeiture proceedings against certain real property and investment funds located in Maryland and Massachusetts against the former governor which resulted in the net forfeiture to the Government of United States of America totalling the sum of $954, 807.40.
“Following the court order, the FRN and the USA have negotiated and finalized the terms of the asset return agreement.
It is worthy to noted that in line with the terms of the Agreement, Mr. President has already approved the expected sum to be utilized for implementation of a Health Center Project for the benefit of the people of Bayelsa state and to be monitored by the Civil Society Organizations and the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Justice”.
Malami urged the US government “to continue to demonstrate the usual cooperation and understanding in other pending cases, so that the Agreements in relation thereto can be concluded as soon as possible to ensure that these funds are repatriated to Nigeria in earnest.
“I wish to state that Nigeria is in dire need of these funds to support the implementation of more projects for the benefit of Nigeria and its citizens”, Malami added.
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