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Jeremiah Useni loses appeal to recover £1.9m loot from seized Jersey accounts

Jeremiah Useni loses appeal to recover £1.9m loot from seized Jersey accounts
October 07
15:38 2022

A court of appeal in Jersey has refused an application by Jeremiah Useni, a retired lieutenant-general of the Nigerian Army, to gain access to funds held in seized bank accounts in Jersey.

In May, the court had ordered the forfeiture of the funds totalling £1.9 million.

Useni was said to have transferred the money into the Standard Chartered Bank accounts in Jersey between the 1980s and 1990s, when he was in Nigeria’s military service.

The accounts — in euro, pound sterling, and US dollar — were reportedly opened under the false name of “Tim Shani”.

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Through his Jersey-based lawyer, Useni reportedly said he used non-existent “Tim Shani” to open the accounts for “security” reasons due to the instability in Nigeria, and that he derived his wealth and funds from gifts and multiple businesses, including real estate, farming, hospitality, and personal savings.

In June, the retired general had asked the royal court for access to the funds, saying he had “no other way” to pay his Jersey lawyers, as he had “limited income” and “cannot make international transfers”.

But the application was denied, and consequently, he filed an appeal.

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However, his appeal was dismissed in a written judgment by the court of appeal, according to the Jersey Evening Post .

Mark Temple, the state’s attorney-general, said the “tainted money” could be seized under Jersey’s Forfeiture of Assets Law 2018 without the need for a conviction.

“The decision of the Jersey court of appeal, in this case, reconfirms that the forfeiture law is an effective means of depriving persons of property that is reasonably suspected to have been unlawfully obtained,” he said.

The money is expected to be returned to the Nigerian government.

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This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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