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Tuesday, November 10, 1998 Published at 07:00 GMT

World: Africa

Nigeria recovers Abacha's cash

General Abacha had said he would stamp out corruption

The Nigerian Government says it has retrieved about $750m in different currencies from the family of the former military leader General Sani Abacha.

The amount includes $625m in dollar notes and another £75m ($125m) in pounds sterling.

The chief press secretary to General Abdulsalami Abubakar said the money had been put into a special account at the central bank while the government decides what to do with it.

Mohammad Haruna said 37 properties and five vehicles had also been recovered from General Abacha's former chief security adviser, Ismail Gwarzo.

Abacha authorised withdrawals

Last week the former Nigerian Finance Minister, Anthony Ani, alleged that more than $1bn had been irregularly withdrawn from government funds under the personal authority of the late military leader.

General Abacha, who died of a suspected heart attack on 8 June, had publicly committed himself to ridding Nigeria of corruption on entering office.

However in September his successor, General Abubakar, announced he had set up a series of investigations into the previous regime's corruption.

"This administration is committed to instilling transparency, accountability and probity in public life," General Abubakar said.

In July, newspapers reported that security agents had prevented General Abacha's widow Maryam from leaving Nigeria with 38 suitcases, many of them stuffed with cash.

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