20 May 2022
On 28 May 2021 Her Majesty's Attorney General served a forfeiture notice under Article 10 (1) of the Forfeiture of Assets (Civil Proceedings) (Jersey) Law 2018 on Lieutenant General Jeremiah Timbut Useni (Retired) seeking the forfeiture of approximately £1.9 million deposited into Jersey numbered bank accounts in a false identity between 1989 and the late 1990s. After today (19 May), the Royal Court granted the Attorney General's application to forfeit the funds.
The Attorney General argued the accounts were created to hold and conceal bribes, or other proceeds of corruption, received by Lieutenant General Useni during the period he held high political office in the Abacha regime. The payments into the accounts were received by Lieutenant General Useni for the purposes or on account of, exercising political influence over the award of lucrative contracts to foreign and Nigerian companies for the supply of industrial or commercial services in Nigeria and therefore represented tainted property liable to be forfeited under the 2018 Forfeiture Law.
Lieutenant General Useni did not attend the forfeiture hearing nor was he represented at the hearing, although he was represented at previous hearings in the case. The decision is open to appeal.
Her Majesty's Attorney General, Mark Temple QC, said: "Jersey has robust and effective legislation which in appropriate cases will be used to forfeit monies associated with corruption summarily and ensure that such funds are returned for the benefit of the people who have suffered from its effects.
"I will explore with the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria how to return these forfeited assets to the people of Nigeria. However, there is an existing framework for the return of funds to Nigeria linked to the Abacha regime which was successfully established with the Governments of Nigeria and the United States in relation to the return of over US$300 million of the assets of Doraville Properties Corporation."
Repatriation agreement between Jersey, Nigeria and USA (gov.je)