A court has ruled stolen assets worth £6.9m ($8.9m) can be returned to Nigeria. It comes after Jersey’s Attorney General served a forfeiture notice to the Royal Court in Jersey in November. The court ruled the money, deposited in a Jersey bank account, was likely stolen by officials in the Nigerian Government in 2014. The return of the assets will now be negotiated with the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The transfer of money was disguised as government-sanctioned contracts for arms purchases during incursions by Boko Haram in Nigeria between 2009 and 2015. The Government of Jersey said it was probable that most of the funds meant for legitimate arms deals were diverted through foreign bank accounts to and from shell companies.
The Attorney General’s office said it was believed the money went to family members of the former ruling party and was shared amongst its members during the 2015 general elections in Nigeria and that the tainted property in this case was to be used for the purposes of such an “illicit transaction”. Mark Temple KC, His Majesty’s Attorney General, said the Government of Jersey had worked in “close partnership” with the Federal Republic of Nigeria to recover the property on behalf of the people of Nigeria. He said “this case again demonstrates the effectiveness of the 2018 Forfeiture Law in recovering the proceeds of corruption and restoring that money to victims of crime. “I now intend to negotiate an asset return agreement with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” BBC