DELTA State government has denied receiving £4.2 million recovered by the British Government from the ex-governor of the state James Ibori as claimed by the Accountant General of the Federation Ahmed Idris.
Idris had claimed during his appearance before the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on the assessment and status of all recovered loots on Tuesday that the much-contended funds had been reimbursed to the state’s coffers.
While stating that funds looted from the treasury of a state were always returned to it when recovered, Idris added that states could also sue the Federal Government to recover the funds if paid to the account of the Federal Government.
“It was paid to Delta State,” he said.
“Such recoveries go specifically to those states. Honourable Chairman, any recovery arising from the looted funds from a particular state goes to the state. The state governors will not even allow this to fly.”
He added that “some recoveries are for some state governments, specific state governments. I know there was a time recovery was made on behalf of Plateau State, there was one for Bayelsa, there is one for Delta,”
However, Chief Press Secretary to the state government Olisa Ifejika, on Wednesday, countered the accountant general’s claim, insisting the oil-rich state was yet to receive the money.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Federal Government to return the recovered loot to Delta State where it rightly belongs. But the truth is that the money has not hit the Delta State government’s account.
“We saw it yesterday like every other Nigerian when the Accountant General of the Federation Ahmed Idris while appearing before the House of Reps committee on recovered loot made that statement and there was this avalanche of enquires to know whether that money has come to us and the truth is that the money has not come.
“We are happy that they have shown willingness to return the money and we know that very soon, the money will come,” Ifejika said while addressing journalists at the Government House in Asaba, the state capital.
He assured that the state would ensure that the funds were judiciously utilised to improve infrastructure across the state, once received.
Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami had earlier claimed in March that the recovered loot would be used for the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano Road, and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and not returned to the Delta State Government where it was pilfered from.
Earlier this month, the Nigerian government had claimed that it had received the much-contended funds from the British government.