The United Kingdom has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nigeria in Abuja, to return the sum of £4.2 million (about N2 billion) stolen by former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.
Ibori, who governed oil-rich Delta State from 1999 to 2007, pled guilty to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering at London’s Southwark Crown Court in 2012 and was sentenced to 13 years behind bars.
After serving half of his sentence in pre- and post-trial detention, Ibori was released from jail in December 2016 and is now back in Nigeria, dictating who governs his state and senatorial district at every election cycle.
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On Tuesday, March 9, 2021 the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, signed the MoU which will guarantee that some of the ex-governor’s loot in cash and assets are returned to Nigeria.
During the signing of the MoU at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Justice, Laing said the money was recovered from friends and family members of Ibori.
She deplored the practice that sees politicians or government officials from Nigeria siphoning money from the nation’s coffers and stashing same in the UK and in banks across the developed world.
Laing also warned that the UK will no longer serve as a destination for Nigerian looters.
Attorney General of the Nigerian Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said the recovery of the stolen funds is in line with the Buhari administration’s resolve to tackle corruption.
Malami disclosed that the money will be used for the construction of the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano road and Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
The £4.2 million will be returned in two weeks, according to the MoU.
Nigeria has similarly been retrieving billions of dollars from across the world, stolen by former military dictator Sani Abacha.
The Buhari administration has also tied the recovered Abacha loot to infrastructure provision.
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