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£4.2m Ibori loot returned to Delta, says accountant-general

£4.2m Ibori loot returned to Delta, says accountant-general
May 25
18:36 2021

Ahmed Idris, accountant-general of the federation, says the £4.2 million loot recovered from James Ibori, former Delta governor, and his associates has been returned to the state government.

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He stated this on Tuesday when he appeared before the house of representatives ad hoc committee on “assessment and status of all recovered loots movable and immovable assets from 2002-2020 by agencies of the federal government of Nigeria for effective efficient management and utilisation”.

Umar Gwandu, special assistant on media and public relations to Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, had on May 18, said the amount was credited into the designated federal government account with naira equivalent value of the amount as of May 10.

Addressing the house of representatives ad hoc committee headed by Adejoro Adeogun, the accountant-general said the money was returned to the state to avoid litigation against the federal government.

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He was responding to questions from the legislators on the difference between the federation and consolidated revenue fund accounts of the federation, and the desegregation of recovered assets and funds.

“All agencies’ revenues go into the treasury single account (TSA), but the TSA does not apply to the federation account,” he said.

“And it depends on the nature of recoveries. Some recoveries are for state governments, and when they come, we will send them to the state governments, including the Ibori loot.

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“The recovery of the Ibori loot was paid to Delta state. The states will not allow their monies to be taken; they will take us to court, and we don’t joke with that.”

Malami had said the recovered loot will be used to fund three infrastructural projects — Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kano expressways, and the second Niger bridge.

Although the Delta government had noted that the money ought to be returned to the state, the AGF had said the law which Ibori breached is a federal law, and not that of the state.

Stakeholders including Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, and Itse Sagay, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), also insisted that the funds should be returned to Delta state.

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Abdulrasheed Bawa, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had also said it is the position of the law that recovered assets should be returned to the victims it was looted from.

Meanwhile, Malami has denied spending N3 billion from the amount recovered from looters.

The committee had accused him of taking N3 billion from recovered loot on February 20, 2017.

But the justice minister said the amount was appropriated for by the national assembly and duly released as fees for advocates, by the ministry of finance.

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“I had a budgetary provision of N3 billion to fund certain critical activities, especially the backlog of solicitors’ fees; I don’t know where the money came from, but it was not from the recovery account,” he said.

“My responsibility is to make request from the ministry of finance and not deduct from the source.”

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