FG Refuses To Give €4.2m Recovered Ibori Loot To Delta State | TimeTestedNews

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Amid the pressure to do otherwise,  Abubakar Malami,Attorney-General of the Federation stated why the loot recovered from former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, will only be used for Federal government projects.

Malami had on Tuesday with the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, declared the return of £4.2 million recovered from Ibori and his associates. The position of the Federal government is that, the funds, which would most likely arrive in the country within two weeks, would be used for the construction of the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano road, and Lagos-Ibadan Express way and not returned to the Delta State government where it was pilfered from.

“The major consideration relating to who is entitled to a fraction or perhaps the money in its entirety is a function of law and international diplomacy,” Malami said during his Tuesday appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

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Furthermore, Malami stated that the law, which was alleged to have been breached by Ibori, was a Federal law and that the parties of interests involved in the repatriation of the funds were national and not sub-national governments.

“All the processes associated with the recovery were consummated by the federal government and the federal government is, indeed, the victim of crime and not sub-national,” he said.

Pressed on whether the British government had insisted that the money be spent on certain projects, Malami said it is not “a matter of insistence but a matter of negotiation between two sovereignties.

Ibori was convicted by a UK court in 2012 after pleading guilty to 10 charges of fraud and money laundering. But the negotiations for the repatriation of his looted assets lasted for over seven years, due to what Malami described as “judicial processes” which require all appeals to be exhausted before final forfeiture is granted.

“This hampered the speedy recovery of the looted assets,” he said. Malami, who also doubles as the Minister of Justice, said the government is pursuing the recovery of other looted assets, including more Ibori assets amounting to over £100 million.

Notwithstanding, the House of Representatives declared on Wednesday that the £4.2 million, which the UK government has promised to repatriate to Nigeria, belongs to the Delta State government.

The House also asked the Federal government through the Ministry of Finance, to immediately stop the disbursement of the money recovered from a former governor of the State.

The lawmakers reached the resolution following a motion sponsored by nine members of the House from Delta State led by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu on Wednesday plenary. The parliament also requested the Federal Ministry of Finance and Attorney General of Federation to furnish it with all particulars relating to the recovered money.

Meanwhile, several Nigerians on Twitter argue that the Federal government should return the stolen funds to Delta State, where it originally belongs, rather than spend it on any so-called Federal projects.

While reacting to the government’s decision on the money, a social commentator and activist, Aisha Yesufu, said the money must go to Delta State and not the Federal government.