[Wikileaks] Okonjo-Iweala, Atiku, Umaru Shinkafi, Kaloma Ali, shared Abacha loot

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The finer details to the recent recovery of N6.18billion loot from the family of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha by the federal government of Nigeria last week [September 3, 2011] off an Island near Normandy in France – may have not been heard. 

Damien Dodo [SAN] and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] Secretary Emmanuel Akonmaye were reported to be among the delegation that negotiated for the release of the money to Nigeria. The loot was said to have been hidden away through the assistance of a Lebanese indigene who was living in Nigeria.

Applauding the new recovery was Mrs Okonjo-Iweala who wrote a letter of commendation to AGF Adoke encouraging him to help relocate more of Abacha loot in other parts of the world.


It is recalled the role played by Okomjo-Iweala in earlier recoveries of Abacha’s loot. Mrs Okonjo-Iweala during the Obasanjo/Atiku had facilitated for the repatriation of over $600m stashed away by the family in Switzerland. But a recent Wikileaks cable release indicates that the amount recovered was much more that the announced $600m. The amount was put in excess of $1.2billion.

According to the confidential wire sent by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter [the then United States of America Ambassador to Nigeria] to the Central Intelligence Agency of the USA concerning the recovery process, he expressed concern over what appears an ongoing negotiation between the late Sani Abacha’s son [Mohammed Abacha] and the representatives of the Nigerian government.

Representating the Nigerian government in the deal agreement was the then Attorney General Godwin Kanu Agabi and representing the Abachas were Sokoto politician and former Presidential aspirant Umaru Shinkafi, Abacha-era Minister Muhammad Kaloma Ali and Nigeria’s one-time UN Permanent Representative, Yusuff Maitama Sule.

The Ambassador quoted the younger brother of Abacha, Kabiru as having told him that the negotiators wanted a commission out of the $1.2billion and Mohammed Abacha was unwilling “to part with any money” Mohammed Abacha who was locked up in prison at the time was offered $300m out of the $1.2billion. He turned it down.

With Yusuff Maitama Sule bumped out of the deal citing his “greed” and that his “standard of living exceeded his means“, the deal was renegotiated allowing Mohammed Abacha to keep $500m out of the “recovered” $1.2billion. The middlemen were quoted as having been settled for their efforts. And the then Vice President Abubakar Atiku was quoted as being the responsible party to sign the agreement between the Abacha family and Nigeria. The agreement included insulating “the Abachas from any future liability for past actions and to permit them to participate fully in the political process“.  

READ BELOW

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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001028

SUBJECT: ABACHA LOOT: GON AND FAMILY SAID CLOSE TO AGREEMENT

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR HOWARD F. JETER.  REASON: 1.5(D)

1.  (U) According to some newspaper reports, the

family of the late General Sani Abacha has agreed to

return to the GON approximately USD 1.2 billion.  The

media accounts are not clear on whether this sum

consists entirely of “new” money or might include

certain amounts frozen earlier but subject to

ownership litigation.

2.  (C) According to a well-informed contact from Kano

who cited Abacha’s younger brother Kadiri as his

source, the talks began soon after the Obasanjo

Government assumed power, with once-and-present

Attorney-General Godwin Kanu Agabi in the lead for the

GON.  Representing the Abachas were Sokoto politician

and former Presidential aspirant Umaru Shinkafi,

Abacha-era Minister Muhammad Kaloma Ali and Nigeria’s

one-time UN PermRep, Yusuff Maitama Sule.  Source said

the talks had stalled over the middlemen’s demands for

commissions and Mohammed Abacha’s unwillingness to

part with any money.  The source opined that some

means clearly  had been found to compensate the

middlemen; he understood the Abachas would be allowed

to keep about USD 300 million.

3.  (C) COMMENT:  When the late Chief Bola Ige

succeeded Agabi at the Ministry of Justice in mid-

2000, he chose not to pursue the talks.  Denied bail

after his indictment for murder in Lagos State,

Mohammed Abacha has languished in jail (sometimes in

Kirikiri Prison in Lagos and sometimes at Kuje Prison

outside Abuja).  Attempts by his family to turn the

bail denial into a political issue were only partly

successful despite their reportedly having spent

considerable amounts of money to obtain favorable

media treatment from some outlets and to underwrite a

large poster campaign in several cities.  According to

a source who visits Mohammed occasionally, the Abacha

scion at first was supremely confident he would

ultimately be freed and thus was uninterested in

cutting a deal.  However, there are credible reports

that his health began to deteriorate late last year

and suggestions that his mother, having lost her first

son, Ibrahim, to a plane crash, did not want to risk

Mohammed also.  Agabi’s return to MOJ offered both the

GON and the Abachas an occasion to reopen

negotiations.  END COMMENT.

4.  (C) A second Kano-based source confirmed that the

talks were near conclusion and cited Shinkafi, Kaloma

Ali and one of Abacha’s erstwhile political advisers,

Sule Yahaya Hamma, as intermediaries.  Asked about

Maitama Sule, source commented that Maitama’s standard

of living exceeded his means, so he was always nosing

around for money and might have insinuated himself

into the process to that end.  This source said he

understood the Abachas stood to retain about USD 500

million, and the middlemen would be “settled” for

their efforts.  The USD 1.2 billion, source continued,

consisted mostly of funds physically taken from the

Central Bank of Nigeria which Abacha had wanted

dispersed abroad as a hedge against sanctions.  He had

entrusted the money to his son’s custody, but, after

Sani Abacha died, Mohammed Abacha reportedly claimed

the GON had no proof the money had not been his

father’s lawful property and refused to part with any

of it.

5.  (C) The final step, the second source continued,

was for the GON to sign the agreement.  The decision

had been made that Vice President Atiku Abubakar would

take on that responsibility, source noted, adding that

he was expected to do so upon his return from the U.S.

o/a April 8.  The source noted that part of the deal

was to insulate the Abachas from any future liability

for past actions and to permit them to “participate

fully in the political process.”

6.  (C) COMMENT:  While recovering USD 1.2 billion

would help the GON sustain its foreign exchange

reserves and balance its cashflow during the upcoming

electoral cycle, letting the Abachas “get away” with

several hundred million dollars will be controversial

when details of the agreement leak to the public.  The

GON figure who signs off on this deal may be called

before the court of public opinion, notably in

southern Nigeria.  Even their home city of Kano,

support for the Abachas is not overwhelming.

JETER

8 COMMENTS

  1. If this stories were to be truth I feel very sorry for Okonjo Iweala,
    She steered bloted contract to the brother with the help of Elufia now this.

    This is why she kept going back to the same job in Nigeria so that she can Loot some more.
    Shame on her.

  2. Pray, from the above cable, how did Okonjo-Iweala participate in sharing part of the Loot. We should stop looking for the needle in the haystack in order to smear people. We all know the antecedents of the dramatis personae in the matter. Apart from commending the A-G for his success, was she directly involved in brokering the “deal”? Would she be rubbing shoulders with the VeePee on sharing? Can the writer enlighten us on the roles Okonjo-Iweala played in the recovery of the Abacha loot? Some of us are very much aware of the sterling role she played in the debt-forgiveness deal with the Paris Club and the IMF under OBJ. I’d like a more focused piece on her specific involvement. It’s good for the polity, otherwise it smacks of a conscious and sustained attempt to play the role of Goebbels during the Nazi era in Germany… – “tell a lie on a sustained basis and people may begin to believe it as a fact”…na wa O!

    • Chiji, you really have the right to believe what you want to believe but we all are not deaf and dumb like you are. The hand writing is right on the wall, so go right on and defend the indefensible, you are entitle to your stupidity!

    • This article is terribly unfair on Mrs Okonjo-Iweala. The wikileaks report in no way indicted her of any wrong doing. Perhaps the reporting is intended to give a wrong and negative portrayal of her. It is the lowest form of journalism I have ever read

  3. Are these idiots jumping over Abacha’s loot because he is dead? If he were alive, definitely they won’t try it. What happened to Babangida’s loots, which I believe is way more than that of Abacha’s, has anybody talked about it? while I am not in any way opposed to the recovery, I feel everyone of them, both dead or alive should investigated, including the investigators themselves.

  4. mear mischief i call this. Even if she award contract for her brother is not bad. We are all human. Stop tarnishing peoples good names.

  5. @Adamma and Kev,unless you read a different thread,it is difficult to see how the report justifies in any the scandalous and misleading headline or indicted the Honourable Minister-Okonjo-iweala.If you cant bring yourself to condem mischief to others, be sure same would be done to you.In anycase,she has said that if you fight corruption,corruption fights you back.I view your stance and the authur of this report in this light.God will judge all.

  6. all are speculations.”According to some newspaper reports” and “According to a well-informed contact from Kano” punctuated the speculation. reader is cautioned.

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