UK govt to return £4.2 million Ibori loot

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The United Kingdom has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to return the sum of £4.2 million assets stolen by former Delta State Governor, James Ibori to Nigeria.

This was announced on Tuesday by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria,  Catriona Laing in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Laing at the signing of the MoU at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Justice said the money was recovered from friends and family members of the former governor.

She lamented that many Nigerians were in the habit of siphoning money from the country to the UK, saying that has also affected the level of trust between the two countries.

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Laing however warned that the UK will no longer be used as a destination for looters to siphon proceeds of crimes.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said the recovery of the stolen fund is part of the efforts of the current administration to fight corruption.

He said that the money will be used for the construction of the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano road, and Lagos-Ibadan Express road.

“The Governments of Nigeria and the United Kingdom have concluded negotiations for the return of £4.2million to Nigeria pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding earlier executed by the two governments in 2016,” Malami said.

He added that in consonance with the existing framework or model engaged in the management of previous recoveries, the Federal Executive Council under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the instant repatriated funds should be deployed towards the completion of the following legacy projects: the Second Niger Bridge, Abuja – Kano expressway and the Lagos – Ibadan expressway under the coordination of the Nigeria Social Investment Authority (NSIA).

Based on the agreement signed, the £4.2million is to be returned two weeks from now. Ibori, who was Delta State Governor from 1999 to 2007, was convicted by a UK court in 2012 and was sentenced to 13 years in jail.

He pleaded guilty to 10 charges of fraud and money-laundering in February 2012 and is the most prominent Nigerian politician to be successfully prosecuted for corruption.

He was released in 2016 after serving a fraction of his term.