The federal government on Thursday, October 26, announced the recovery of $85 million from the United Kingdom as part of funds said to be looted from the Malabu oil deal.
The announcement was made by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, yesterday, when he spoke in Abuja at the Pre-Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) and Consultative meeting.
A British judge, Justice Edis of the Southwark Crown Court had in June 2015 refused to release $85 million to Malabu, a company controlled by former Minister of Petroleum, Chief Dan Etete.
The $85 million – part of the OPL 245 largesse not yet distributed – was seized at the request of Italian prosecutors who were also investigating the deal.
Etete had pleaded with the British court, seeking that the money be returned to him having sensed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was yet to find its feet on international legal matters.
But Justice Edis declared that he was not sure the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan acted in the interest of Nigeria when it approved the money to Malabu.
“I cannot simply assume that the federal government of Nigeria which was in power in 2011 and subsequently until 2015 rigorously defended the public interest of the people of Nigeria in all aspects,” he ruled.
However, while speaking on Thursday, Malami said the money had been released to Nigeria.
“I am also pleased to inform that Nigeria has just recovered the sum of $85 million from the Malabu Restrained Funds in the UK,” the AGF said.
He said despite the non-compliant nature of some countries, the government would not relent in its bid to recover more funds.