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Bank documentation delaying return of £4.2m Ibori loot, says Malami

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ATTORNEY-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami says bank documentation has been the cause of the delay in transferring some of £4.2 million seized from associates of convicted former Governor of Delta State James Ibori to Nigeria.

Malami said this in a statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations in charge of Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation Umar Gwandu on Monday in Abuja.

The AGF said the transfer of funds between two countries (the UK and Nigeria, in this case) often took longer and the government would inform the public when the funds were received.

“Documentations with the banks in different countries often take longer than anticipated. We anticipated two weeks but we are not in control of the banks,” the statement read in part.

READ ALSOSenior lawyers divided over ownership of £4.2m Ibori loot

He said there was neither complacency nor delay on the part of the government as efforts were being made to ensure the success of the transfer.

Earlier in March, the Nigerian government had disclosed the ‘imminent return’ of part of the fund recovered from Ibori, former Delta State governor, from the United Kingdom.

While announcing the returning of the fund, Malami said about £2.2 million pounds would be spent on the Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano Road, and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, stressing that the funds would not be returned to Delta State government where the former governor stole them from.

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The government’s decision raised concerns among Nigerians, including the Delta State government, who said that the fund ought to be returned to its original source where it was looted.

“We would try to take advantage of the legal system to make the Federal Government correct the injustice they are about to visit on us as a state,” said Delta State commissioner for information Ehiedu Aniagwu.

Malami insisted that the funds would not be returned to the Delta State government because the crime committed by Ibori was a national and not a sub-region one.

However, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Human Rights Lawyer Femi Falana said, according to Article 35 of the United Nations Convention that is ratified by the United Kingdom and Nigeria respectively, any proceeds recovered from corruption should be expended on the victims.

Falana stated that in the Ibori loot case, the victim in the corrupt practice were the people of Delta State and the state government.

Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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Lukman ABOLADE
Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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