The United States Department of Justice says the Federal Government led by the President , Maj . Gen Muhammadu Buhari ( retd .) , is blocking attempts to recover Abacha loot traced to Kebbi State Governor , Atiku Bagudu.
The DoJ made the claim in court papers filed before the District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington ,Bloomberg reports .
The PUNCH reports that Bagudu, who is a close ally of Buhari and a prominent member of the ruling All Progressives Congress , was indicted by the US Government for helping the late military dictator, Gen . Sani Abacha, to transfer billions of dollars in the mid -90 s .
According to documents from the DoJ, Bagudu spent six months in federal detention in Texas while awaiting extradition to the Island of Jersey .
However, before he was handed over to criminal trial in Jersey, he quickly agreed to return $ 163m to Nigeria and was released on bond to Nigeria , where he was meant to be prosecuted for money laundering .
However, on returning to Nigeria , he was cleared to contest in three different election cycles – once as a senator and twice as governor – all of which he won and now enjoys immunity.
In a report published by Bloomberg , on Friday , it was stated that the US Department of Justice says the Nigerian government is preventing the US from seizing Bagudu’s alleged loot .
“ The DoJ also contends that the Nigerian government is hindering US efforts to recover allegedly laundered money it says it ’ s traced to Bagudu . Buhari’ s administration says a 17 – year -old agreement entitles Bagudu to the funds and prevents Nigeria from assisting the US , according to recent filings from the District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington ,” the report stated.
According to the report , the disagreement may hamper future cooperation between Nigeria and the US to recover state money moved offshore by Abacha, whom Transparency International estimates may have looted as much as $ 5 bn during his 1993 – 98 rule.
“ A commitment by Nigeria to transfer the funds to Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Bagudu appears to undermine Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’ s pledge to quell rampant graft in Africa’ s top oil producer, ” the report stated .
Neither Bagudu nor a spokesman for the Attorney General of the Federation , Abubakar Malami ( SAN ) , responded to requests for comment .
A spokesman for Buhari said the settlement and the litigation were matters for Malami .
A spokesman for the DoJ declined to comment on the matter!