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JUST IN: US To Return $954,000 Alamieyeseigha Loot



The United States and the Federal Government have signed an agreement to reinstate $954,000 allegedly stolen by a former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, announced the development at a press briefing on Thursday afternoon in Abuja.

Leonard said the official salary of the former governor during his tenure as a public servant from 1999 to his impeachment in 2005 did not match the said amount.

She said, however, he accumulated millions of dollars through abuse of office, money laundering.

Beatrice Jedy-Agba, Solicitor-General of the Federation, who represented Nigeria at the briefing said President Muhammadu Buhari has immediately directed that the said sum be utilised in developing the healthcare of Bayelsa.

“This asset return arose from the forfeiture and recovery of approximately $1 million USD linked to the corrupt practices of former Bayelsa state governor, D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha. The United States government, in collaboration with the Federal Republic of Nigeria initiated and completed forfeiture proceedings against certain real property and investment funds located in Maryland and Massachusetts against the former governor which resulted in the net forfeiture to the Government of United States of America totalling the sum of $954,807.40.”

“Following the court order, the FRN and the USA have negotiated and finalized the terms of the asset return agreement.

“It is worthy to note that in line with the terms of this agreement, Mr President has already approved the expected sum to be utilised for the implementation of a health centre project for the benefit of the people of Bayelsa state and to be monitored by the civil society organisations and the federal government, through the federal ministry of justice,” she said.

Alamieyeseigha, who died at the age of 62, in October 2015 was detained in London on charges of money laundering in September 2005. At the time of his arrest, Metropolitan police found about £1m in cash in his London home.

Later they found a total of £1.8m ($3.2m) in cash and bank accounts. He was found to own four homes in London worth an alleged £10 million. He jumped bail in December 2005 from the United Kingdom by allegedly disguising himself as a woman, though Alamieyeseigha denied this claim.

Alamieyeseigha was impeached on allegations of corruption on 9 December 2005 and Goodluck Jonathan, his deputy at the time, took over.

On July 26, 2007, Alamieyeseigha pleaded guilty before a Nigerian court to six charges and was sentenced to two years in prison on each charge; however, because the sentences were set to run concurrently and the time was counted from the point of his arrest nearly two years before the sentences, his actual sentence was relatively short.

Jonathan later granted him pardon, a move that triggered backlash.

Daily Trust

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