By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The United States and the Federal Government have signed an agreement for the returned of $954,000 loot of late former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.
US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, disclosed the development at a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, 16 February, 2023 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, adding that 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.