The late Deprieye Alamieyeseigha, a former governor of Bayelsa State, stole about $1 million, according to a deal that the United States and the Nigerian government inked on Thursday.
Between 1999 and 2005, Mr. Alamieyeseigha served as governor of Bayelsa in southern Nigeria. He passed away in October 2015.
He was detained in London in September 2005 on suspicion of graft, but he was able to escape from jail and go back to Nigeria.
In order to stand trial, the Bayelsa State House of Assembly forced him out of government in December 2005.
Mr. Alamieyeseigha was convicted on July 26, 2007, by the Federal High Court after pleading guilty to corruption charges and consenting to the forfeiture of assets seized from him, though he was subsequently pardoned by the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mutual cooperation allowed for the mutual confiscation of assets linked to him in the US and the UK.
The US envoy to Nigeria, Mary Leonard, stated at the agreement’s signing on Thursday that the money would be used to pay for healthcare services in Bayelsa State after it had been taken from him by the US government.
At the ceremony conducted at the Federal Ministry of Justice, she declared, “As a result of today’s agreement, healthcare across Bayelsa will be improved through the rehabilitation, refurbishment, and reequipment of healthcare centers as asked by the state.”
Ms. Leonard revealed that Mr. Alamieyeseigha’s “official salary did not surpass the equivalent of about 81,000 dollars” while recalling the 15-year process of recovering the stolen property.
“However, during that time, he (Alamieyeseigha) accumulated millions of dollars’ worth of property due to corrupt acts such as abuse of office, money laundering and other violations of Nigerian and US laws,” the US ambassador added.
She reaffirmed the US government’s dedication to combating corrupt practices by citing the UN convention against corruption.
Ms. Leonard stated that “recovered proceeds will be transformed into assets that benefit the people harmed by underlying corrupt conduct, to improve the lives of average Nigerians, not a corrupt elite,” the equivalent of about 81,000 dollars per year, to avoid concerns about recovered proceeds being re-looted.
The US would continue to “deny safe havens to corrupt actors and the assets they have illicitly obtained,” she further vowed.
Abubakar Malami, the attorney general of Nigeria, praised the US government for returning money that had been stolen from the country earlier. He was speaking through the Permanent Secretary and Solicitor-General of the Federation.
“this asset return arose from the forfeiture and recovery of approximately $1 million USD linked to the corrupt practices of former Bayelsa State governor DSP Alamieyeseigha,” the minister said.
The $954.807.40 worth of forfeited property, according to him, was found in Maryland and Massachusetts.
The AGF noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the conditions of an agreement that would result in the repatriated funds being invested in healthcare projects for the people of Bayelsa, following talks between the two governments and a US court order.
The minister remembered that the return was due to the forfeiture and recovery of about $1 million USD connected to the corrupt activities of the former governor of Bayelsa State, DSP Alamieyeseigha.
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice for Bayelsa State, Biriyai Dambo, pledged to uphold the project’s conditions in a statement.
Mr Dambo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), represented Governor Duoye Diri, who is bereaved.
Due to accusations of corruption, Mr. Alamieyeseigha was removed from office in 2005.
The first executive governor of Bayelsa, Mr. Alamieyeseigha, was subsequently accused of stealing and sentenced to prison.
Alamieyeseigha was pardoned by former President Goodluck Jonathan, who also worked as his deputy governor.
Mr. Alamieyeseigha was pardoned by Goodluck Jonathan, who was Mr. Alamieyeseigha’s vice governor.