The United Kingdom is set to return £4.2m (N2.2bn) seized from convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, and his associates.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said this while delivering his speech on Tuesday at the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and the government of the UK regarding the return and management of stolen assets recovered from Ibori and associates.
He said, “I wish to remark that today’s ceremony and the recoveries attached thereto has again underscored the fact that international cooperation and mutual trust can yield great benefits for the citizenry in developing countries who are the direct victims of acts of corruption.
“Hence, the governments of Nigeria and the United Kingdom have concluded negotiations for the return of £4.2m to Nigeria pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding earlier executed by the two governments in 2016.
“It is to be recalled that the Nigerian government had all along provided the required mutual assistance and backup to the British authorities while the prosecution of James Ibori lasted in London and today, we are rightfully taking benefit of that cooperation.”
“We have established, as a government, a reputation of transparency and accountability of utilization of recovered assets as a nation. These assets will in no way be different in terms of application,” he said.
Ibori, who ruled Delta State from 1999 to 2007, was convicted by a UK court in 2012 and was sentenced to 13 years in jail after admitting fraud of nearly £50m (N26.3bn), even though prosecutors say the actual amount stolen was about £250m (N131.7bn).
The former governor of Delta state pleaded guilty to 10 offenses relating to conspiracy to launder funds from the state, substantive counts of money laundering and one count of obtaining money transfer by deception and fraud.
He was released in 2016 after serving a fraction of his term.