President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is unsettled by the reports that the United States was opposed to its alleged plan to hand $100million to Kebbi Governor, Atiku Bagudu, from the recovered Sani Abacha loot.
The government is scrambling to debunk the news widely reported by the Nigerian media and has issued another statement less than 24 hours after the first.
On Saturday, Malami issued another rejoinder, wherein he stated that the Nigerian government did not intend and would not give anyone a cut from the repatriated fund.
A statement by Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media, described Buhari as the first President of Nigeria committed to the battle and does not plan to deviate “despite statements in the media.”
He noted that Nigeria continues to engage with international partners, including the U.S., in the recovery and repatriation of stolen assets.
Malami said the long-standing cooperation recently culminated in the successful signing of Memorandum of Understanding for the repatriation of over $308 million.
“The FGN is also negotiating the recovery of assets from several countries and the agreements for the recoveries and the procedure for recoveries are always presented to Federal Executive Council for approval and duly made public once the processes have been concluded.
“No third-party interest was captured in the Council memo that was approved by the Council”, Malami declared
“The 2017 repatriated funds were deployed to the implementation of the Social Investment program and is being monitored by civil society organizations across the country.
“The 2020 Agreement which will be managed by Nigeria’s Sovereign Investment Authority, will also be monitored by civil society organizations and will be used to support the completion of critical road infrastructures, namely Abuja to Kano Road, Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos to Ibadan Road.
“Nigeria is also cooperating with the United States in the recovery of several other assets including corruption proceeds linked to former Petroleum Minister Deziani Alison-Madueke and her associates, and former State Governor James Ibori as well as several others.”
The statement assured that Buhari remained committed to the recovery of whatever funds are owed Nigeria and the government, in that regard, has gone to court in different countries to assert its rights as victim of corruption.
Continuing, it stressed that, “the USA and the Bagudu family have been in court since 2014 over assets already rescinded under the 2003 Agrement. The matters are to be determined in the United Kingdom and the United States Courts.
“The Bagudu family assets in contention, which constitutes a distinct and separate cause of action, does not have anything to do with the assets already recovered and being recovered under the Abacha 2014 non-prosecution agreement.
“The government of Nigeria remains fully committed to continued cooperation with the United States of America and other countries in a reciprocal manner.”