HOUSE of Representatives yesterday said it would assist in repatriating the country’s looted funds that had been forfeited to the United States. The House also resolved to interface with the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to meet the US Congressmen and women who initiated the resolution for the $458 million to be returned back to the Nigerian government. The resolution followed a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by Hon Johnson Agbonayinma on the floor of the House. In his lead debate, Agbonayinma recalled that in 2013, as part of its Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, the United State Department of Justice commenced forfeiture proceeding to confiscate $550m that had been corruptly obtained. He said a portion of the loot valued at $458m that belongs to Nigeria had now been forfeited to US by a judgement of the district court for the District of Columbia. The lawmaker noted that in August 2014, following assets traced by United States Department of Justice in conjunction with counterparts in the UK and France, properties were discovered to be proceeds of corruption originated from Nigeria. Agbonayinma hinted that the US Department of Justice had confiscated and returned over
$168m to victim nations. He pointed out that asset recovery was a fundamental principle of United Nations Convention against Corruption where high level corruption had plundered the national wealth. The lawmaker expressed dismay that one Attorney Godson Nnaka, without proof of mandate from government, was laying claim to 40 percent of the forfeited assets in the amount of $458m by instituting a claimant suit in court. In her contribution, Hon Beni Lar, said the allegation was very serious, adding that before jumping into conclusion, there should be proper investigation. Hon. Mohammed Wudil said the motion was quite in order because it has not indicted anybody.