Retired lieutenant-general of the Nigerian Army, Jeremiah Useni has lost an appeal to recover funds held in seized bank accounts in Jersey.
A court had in May ordered the forfeiture of the funds totalling £1.9 million, which he reportedly transferred into the Standard Chartered Bank accounts in Jersey between the 1980s and 1990s, when he was in Nigeria’s military service.
The money was kept under a false name of “Tim Shani”. Explaining why he should be granted access to the money, Useni had claimed that he used non-existent “Tim Shani” to open the accounts for “security” reasons due to the instability in Nigeria.
He also claimed he got the funds from gifts and multiple businesses, including real estate, farming, hospitality, and personal savings.
His application to be granted access to the money in June, while also claiming that he had “no other way” to pay his Jersey lawyers, as he had “limited income” and “cannot make international transfers”, was denied.
Jersey Evening Post reported that his appeal was also dismissed in a written judgment by the court of appeal.
Mark Temple, the state’s attorney-general, said the “tainted money” which is expected to be returned to the Nigerian government, 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.”