State of Jersey to return £315 million Abacha loot to Nigeria


The State of Jersey, the biggest territory in the Channels Island, is set to return to Nigeria £315 million stolen by a former military head of state, Sani Abacha.

The Ballif of Jersey, Michael Birt, stated this at a dinner in honour of Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, Dalhatu Tafida, during a State visit to the Island.

Mr. Birt, who doubles as the Island’s Civic Head of State and ceremonial head, is the highest ranking official in the Jersey order of precedence.

The Island, famous for its transparent banking services, had previously repatriated in two tranches £140 million pounds of the loot.

The money was laundered on behalf of Mr. Abacha by Raj Bhojwani, an Indian businessman.

Mr. Bhojwani is currently serving an eight-year sentence in a UK prison.

Speaking on Jersey’s financial services and global perception of the Island, Mr. Birt said that the repatriated loot was in line with ongoing campaign against money laundering.

“We have done a lot to clean up the image of the Island as a safe haven for stolen wealth,” he said.

“What we have in place is a transparent and legal finance heaven where only legal funds can be deposited and accessed by investors,” Mr. Birt said.

In his response, Mr Tafida commended Mr. Birt for the Island’s transparent banking sector, and informed him of the Nigerian government’s commitment to fighting corruption and strengthening its anti-graft agencies.

The high commissioner also spoke on the investment opportunities in all sectors of the economy, while laying emphasis on the nation’s GDP, and high return on investment rate.

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“The array of investment opportunities that abound in the country and generous incentives available to investors in all sectors of the economy, has continued to make it a global investment destination,” he stressed.

The dinner was attended by top officials from the Jersey government and members of Mr. Tafida’s delegation.

The visit marks the beginning of a bi-lateral relations with the Jersey.

Officials from Jersey are expected to carry out a similar visit to Nigeria. (NAN)

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