The money, allegedly diverted by Nigerian government officials in 2014 during ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, was claimed to be for purchasing arms to fight Boko Haram terrorists.
According to the BBC, the court ruled that the money, deposited in a Jersey bank account, was likely stolen by officials in the Nigerian Government in 2014.
Controversies surrounded the purchase of weapons during the insurgency fight, with the then National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, accused of diverting funds meant for security equipment during Jonathan’s administration.
Dasuki, a retired army Lieutenant Colonel appointed by Jonathan in June 2012, was in a legal tussle with Nigeria’s state security services.
During Dasuki’s tenure, Nigeria faced a money laundering scandal as South Africa seized two planes in 2014 carrying millions of dollars allegedly for an arms deal.
When former President Muhammadu Buhari assumed power, his office expressed concern about the early findings of the probe on Twitter.
“The findings made so far are extremely worrying considering that within the same period, our troops were in desperate need of ammo/equipment,” Buhari said on Twitter.
The Royal Court in Jersey issued the order following a forfeiture notice by Jersey’s Attorney General, Mark Temple KC, stating that the funds deposited in a Jersey bank account were not used for the arms purchase.
Temple mentioned that the government of Jersey was in close partnership with Nigeria on the repatriation of the funds and claimed part of the funds were shared with family members of politicians in the then-ruling Peoples Democratic Party before the 2015 general election.
“This case again demonstrates the effectiveness of the 2018 Forfeiture Law in recovering the proceeds of corruption and restoring that money to victims of crime. I now intend to negotiate an asset return agreement with the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) described the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as reckless during Jonathan’s administration, while the PDP Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Ibrahim Abdullahi, alleged that the APC-led Federal Government was notorious for corruption.