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Nigeria seizes billions in looted cash and assets

Interior minister says more than $10bn confiscated in the past year's anti-corruption drive.

Nigeria has seized more than $10.3bn in looted cash and assets in the past year under President Muhammadu Buhari's anti-corruption campaign, the west African country's information minister said.

In addition, the government is expecting the repatriation of more than $330m stolen from the public treasury and stashed in banks abroad, Lai Mohammed said in a statement on Saturday. He said most of the money is in Switzerland.

Mohammed did not identify former and current officials accused of looting public funds, though the government had promised to publish them.

The minister did not say how much of the money has been returned voluntarily by former officials hoping for forgiveness or a plea bargain.

He said the funds include $583.5m recovered in cash and $9.7bn in cash and assets under interim forfeiture including sea-going vessels, buildings and land.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and many court trials are ongoing, including that of retired colonel Sambo Dasuki, who was former president Goodluck Jonathan's national security adviser.

Dasuki is accused of diverting $2.1bn meant to fight the Boko Haram armed group. Jonathan instructed that the money be paid to bribe party officials to help him win his party's presidential nomination, Dasuki has told the court.

Jonathan lost the March 2015 elections to Buhari, who succeeded him a year ago and said he inherited state coffers emptied by massive corruption.

Dasuki's financial director, Shuaibu Salisu, told the court that $47m in cash was stuffed into 11 suitcases and taken at night from the Central Bank of Nigeria to Dasuki's residence.


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