Attorney General of Jersey returns £2m of stolen money to Nigeria for infrastructure projects

Attorney General Mark Temple of Jersey has finalised an agreement to return over £2 million to Nigeria for critical infrastructure projects, part of efforts to combat corruption and benefit the Nigerian people. Learn about the legal process and implications of this milestone agreement

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The Attorney General of Jersey, Mark Temple, has reached a milestone agreement to return more than £2 million to Nigeria, earmarked for essential infrastructure projects. The funds, obtained through legal proceedings, represent a significant step in the fight against corruption and aim to serve the interests of the Nigerian populace.

The legal process leading to this agreement began in May 2022, following evidence presented by the Nigerian authorities. The Attorney General successfully petitioned the Royal Court of Jersey, invoking the Forfeiture of Assets (Civil Proceedings) (Jersey) Law 2018, to seize £1.9 million from four Jersey-based accounts. These accounts were linked to Lieutenant General Jeremiah Useni, identified as a key figure in corrupt activities during General Abacha’s regime.

Subsequently, in September 2022, the Attorney General secured the forfeiture of additional funds held by Selcan Miner and Selbyen Caroline Miner. The Royal Court of Jersey found compelling evidence of their involvement in money laundering schemes connected to high-ranking Nigerian officials, including Lt-Gen Useni.

The agreement finalised by the Attorney General stipulates the return of the forfeited funds (minus legal costs) to Nigeria under the 2020 Tripartite Agreement between Jersey, Nigeria, and the USA. This framework facilitated the repatriation of over $300 million, previously identified as proceeds of corruption during General Abacha’s tenure, for crucial infrastructure projects. Notably, projects such as the Second Niger Bridge and sections of the Lagos to Ibadan Expressway have already seen substantial progress, with the remaining funds designated for the Abuja to Kano Road project.

Furthermore, negotiations are underway for an additional asset share agreement, potentially returning $8.9 million to Nigeria. This follows a forfeiture order issued by the Royal Court on  January 12, 2024, relating to funds believed to be connected to a corrupt scheme in 2014 involving government funds misappropriated by third-party contractors.

Commenting, Mark Temple stated, ‘The repatriation of more than £2 million underscores Jersey’s commitment to recovering tainted property and returning it to its rightful owners, particularly in cases of corruption. It demonstrates the effectiveness of Civil Forfeiture as a tool in combating corruption and ensuring justice.’

Nigeria’s Attorney General, Lateef Fagbemi, expressed gratitude for Jersey’s cooperation, emphasising Nigeria’s commitment to transparently utilising repatriated funds for the benefit of its citizens. He commended the seamless process and reiterated Nigeria’s dedication to combatting corruption and upholding accountability.

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