A court has decided that assets worth £6.9m ($8.9m) can be returned to Nigeria. This follows a forfeiture notice served by Jersey’s Attorney General to the Royal Court in Jersey in November. The court determined that the money, deposited in a Jersey bank account, was likely stolen by Nigerian Government officials in 2014.
The funds were initially transferred under the guise of government-sanctioned contracts for arms purchases during Boko Haram incursions in Nigeria between 2009 and 2015. Investigations revealed that a significant portion of the money intended for legitimate arms deals was diverted through foreign bank accounts and shell companies.
Jersey’s Attorney General, Mark Temple KC, highlighted the collaboration between Jersey and the Federal Republic of Nigeria in recovering the assets for the Nigerian people. The tainted funds, believed to have gone to family members of the former ruling party and shared during the 2015 general elections in Nigeria, will now be subject to negotiation for return to Nigeria. This case showcases the efficacy of the 2018 Forfeiture Law in reclaiming the proceeds of corruption and restoring them to victims of crime.