Last Updated on May 6, 2019 by Ope Quadri
When Mohammed Abacha voluntarily agreed to return $1.2 billion illegally acquired by his father, the entire world was baffled.
Mohammed is the son of Nigeria’s former military Head of State Late Gen. Sani Abacha. Everyone was wondering the huge amount the late military dictator had before he died. In this post we’ll tell you Sani Abacha net worth before his death in 1998.
In of its reports, one of the global wealth/asset rating firm Forbes claimed that African president: past and present are the richest people on the continent, but they are not rated by Forbes because most of them acquire wealth by converting state resources into their personal use.
Base on this, we will gauge Sani Abacha net worth based on the huge amount of dollars, Pound sterling traced to him, which were held in personal and proxy bank accounts in tax havens-compliant countries like Switzerland, Luxembourg, Jersey and Liechtenstein etc.
How Abacha came to power
Late Sani Abacha joined the Nigerian Army, attending Nigerian Military Training College in Kaduna and was commissioned in 1963 after he attended Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, England.
His active roles in major coups in Nigeria
The late Army General was described as being ruthless and fearless even as a junior officer back in the 1960s, as such he played major roles in some of the coups in Nigeria, some of them are:
July 29, 1966 coup: He played a major role in the July 1966 counter-coup that ended the military regime of Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi. He was a young Second Lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion in Kaduna.
December 31, 1983 Coup: He was instrumental in bringing Maj General Muhammadu Buhari to power after ending the civilian regime of the lhaji Shehu Shagari, who was a few weeks into his second term.
August 27, 1985 coup: Buhari who in nationwide broadcast on January 1, 1984 said, “Happy New Year, happy New government” was also removed by some cabals who brought him to office. Late Abacha was a key player in the coup.
How Sani Abacha was compensated after removing Buhari from power in 1985
Late Sani Abacha was rewarded handsomely for his role in ending the regime of Maj-Gen Buhari in 1985.
The new military Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida appointed him the new Chief of Army of Staff.
Later in the year, he was appointed the the Minister of Defence.
How Sani Abacha benefited from 1993 presidential election annulment
It is on record that the late military dictator was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the 1993 presidential election annulment.
After the annulment of the election which late M.K.O Abiola won, Babangida had to step aside, handing over power to Chief Ernest Shonekan as interim president of Nigeria on August 26 1993.
Knowing full well that it was his opportunity, Abacha executed a palace coup against Shonekan.
In the announcement that followed, Late Sanni Abacha in nationwide broadcast said:
…consequently, the following decision comes to immediate effect. The Interim National Government is hereby dissolved. The national and state assemblies are also dissolved.
The state executive councils are dissolved, the brigade commanders are to take over from governors in their state until military administrators are appointed….”
Watch his speech below:
That announcement on November 17, 1993 paved way for Late Sani Abacha to acquire for himself and members of his families, cronies and friends billions of dollars and other currencies of state funds to their personal use.
How Sanni Abacha amass wealth
In a 42-page document which leaked in 2014 detailed how Sani Abacha acquired his wealth.
The document was tendered at the United States District Court of Columbia by the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice.
The document detailed how billions of dollars were diverted to foreign accounts just like the former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe who acquired several multi-million dollars property around the World.
Those who allegedly assisted Sani Abacha in siphoning money abroad:
- The late son of the ruler Ibrahim Abacha;
- His second son, Mohammed Abacha;
- His associate Abubakar Atiku Bagudu;
- Former National Security Adviser (NSA), Ismaila Gwarzo;
- Alhaji Ahmadu Daura;
- Then Minister of Finance, Chief Anthony Ani;
- Lawyer and associate of the Abacha family, David Umaru
According to another publication on USA Africa Dialogue Series, late General Sani Abacha started accumulating the money he put in Western Banks immediately after he took over power
He allegedly stole money from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through presidential order under the guise of “National Security”
Timeline of how Sani Abacha moved monies out of CBN vaults:
For a better understanding and to know the enormous huge amount of monies that were stolen by the late Head of State we use today’s exchange rate to convert them to Naira.
The Governor of Kebbi State Abubakar Bagudu was one of his networks believed he used to loot and siphon Nigeria’s treasury abroad.
|Date||Amount collected from CBN (in Dollars and Pounds)||Naira value today|
|March 25, 1994||$37.6 million||13,536,000,000|
|February 15, 1995||$4 million||1,440,000,000|
|February 15, 1995||£2 million||948,453,840|
|February 17, 1995||$4 million||1,440,000,000|
|February 17, 1995||£2 million||948,453,840|
|February 27, 1995||$4 million||1,440,000,000|
|February 27, 1995||£2 million||948,453,840|
|July 8, 1995||$5 million||1,800,000,000|
|July 8, 1995||£4 million||1,896,900,000|
|December 29, 1995||$5 million||1,800,000,000|
|March 28, 1996||$3.801 million||1,368,360,000|
|May 29, 1996||$12.5 million||4,500,000,000|
|June 20, 1996||$10 million||3,600,000,000|
|June 20, 1996||£5 million||2,371,125,000|
|August 20, 1996||$30 million||10,800,000,000|
|August 20, 1996||£15 million||7,113,403,800|
|September 24, 1996:||$50 million||18,000,000,000|
|September 30, 1996||$50 million||18,000,000,000|
|September 30, 1996||£3 million||1,422,680,760|
|October 14, 1996||$5 million||1,800,000,000|
|November 11, 1996||$5 million||1,800,000,000|
|November 11, 1996||£3 million||1,422,680,760|
|February 18, 1997||$6 million||2,160,000,000|
|February 28, 1997||$3 million||1,080,000,000|
|March 3, 1997||$3.27 million||1,177,200,000|
|March 6, 1997||$1.21 million||435,600,000|
|April 22, 1997||$60 million||21,600,000,000|
|April 28, 1997||$60 million||21,600,000,000|
|April 28, 1997||£30 million||14,226,807,600|
|June 30, 1997||$4.9 million||1,764,000,000|
|July 9, 1997||$5 million||1,800,000,000|
|July 9, 1997||£2 million||948,453,840|
|August 8, 1997||$10 million||3,600,000,000|
|October 18, 1997||$12.3 million||4,428,000,000|
|October 21, 1997||£5.88 million||2,788,443,000|
|October 23, 1997||£14.76 million||6,999,589,339|
|October 29, 1997||£11.76 million||5,576,908,579|
|November 14, 1997||$10 million||3,600,000,000|
|November 26, 1997||$24 million||8,640,000,000|
|December 10, 1997||$24 million||8,640,000,000|
|December 18, 1997||£6.15 million||2,916,495,558|
The total of the above accumulation runs into Trillions of Naira plus other unaccounted for. Some of his properties are still all over the world controlled by his family members.
Foreign banks used by Late Sani Abacha:
- Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, ANZ, London branch
- ANZ, New York
- ANZ, Frankfurt
- Bank in Liechtenstein A. G. Vaduz
- Bank Len, Zurich
- Bankers Trust Company, London
- Bankers Trust Company, Frankfurt
- Bankers Trust Company, New York
- Banque Barring Brothers, Geneva
- Barclays Bank, New York
- Barclays Bank, London
- Banque Edouard Constant, General
- Banque Nationale De Paris, Geneva
- Banque Nationale De Paris, London
- Banque Nationale De Paris, Basle
- Citibank N. A. London
- Citibank N. A. New York
- Citibank N. A. Luxembourg
- Citibank Zurich
- Credit Lyonnais , New York Credit Suisse , New York
- Credit Suisse, General
- Credit Suisse, Zurich
- Deutche Morgan Grenfell, Jersey
- FIBI Bank (Schweiz) A. G. Zurich
- First Bank of Boston , London
- First Bank of Nigeria Plc, London
- Goldman Sachs and Company, Zurich
- Gothard Bank, Geneva
- Inland Bank ( Nigeria ) Plc, Lagos
- LGT Liechtenstein Bank, Vaduz
- Liechtenstein Landesbank, Vaduz (M. Warburg and Company, Luxembourg, M. Warburg and Company, Zurich, M. Warburg and Company, Hamburg)
- Merrill Lynch Bank, New York
- Merrill Lynch Bank, Geneva
- Midland Bank, London
- National Westminister Bank, London
- Nigerian Intercontinental Merchant Bank Limited, Lagos
- Paribus, London
- Paribus, Geneva
- Royal Bank of Scotland , Leeds
- Standard Bank London Limited, London
- UBS AG, Zurich
- UBS AG, Geneva
- Union Bancaire Privee, Geneva
- Union Bancaire Privee, London
- Union Bank of Nigeria, London Branch
- Universal Trust Bank of Nigeria Limited, Lagos
- Verwaltungs Und Private Bank A. G., Vaduz
Up till now, no one can precisely say the exact amount of billions of Dollars of Abacha loot that was recovered.
There have been serious and most horrific revelation that officials of government during the past administration even “stole” part of the fund after they were recovered from foreign accounts.
During the regime of former Nigerian leader whom Abacha jailed, Olusegun Obasanjo, a series of negotiations between the Nigerian government and the Abacha family, Abacha’s first son, Mohammed returned $1.2 billion to the Nigerian government in 2002.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has equally recovered $350 million of Abacha loot (around N115 billion at the time) which he invested in the National Social Intervention Programme (NSIP).