Nigeria says it seizes $10.3 billion in looted money, assets

AP News
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Posted: Jun 04, 2016 11:46 AM
Nigeria says it seizes $10.3 billion in looted money, assets

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria has seized more than $10.3 billion in looted cash and assets in the past year under President Muhammadu Buhari's anti-corruption campaign, the information minister announced Saturday.

In addition, the government is expecting the repatriation of more than $330 million stolen from the public treasury and stashed in banks abroad, Information Minister Lai Mohammed said in a statement. He said most of the money is in Switzerland.

Mohammed did not identify former and current officials accused of looting public funds, though the government had promised to publish them. He also did not say how much of the money has been returned voluntarily by former officials hoping for forgiveness or a plea bargain.

He said the funds include $583.5 million recovered in cash and $9.7 billion in cash and assets under interim forfeiture including sea-going vessels, buildings and land.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and many court trials are ongoing, including that of retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, who was former President Goodluck Jonathan's national security adviser. He is accused of diverting $2.1 billion meant to fight the Boko Haram Islamic insurgency. Jonathan instructed that the money be paid to bribe party officials to help him win his party's presidential nomination, Dasuki has told the court.

Jonathan lost the March 2015 elections to Buhari, who succeeded him a year ago and said he inherited state coffers emptied by massive corruption.

Dasuki's financial director, Shuaibu Salisu, told the court that $47 million in cash was stuffed into 11 suitcases and taken at night from the Central Bank of Nigeria to Dasuki's residence.