The United Kingdom has agreed to return the sum of £4.2 million (N2.4bn) stolen by former Delta State Governor, James Ibori to Nigeria, The Guardian reports.
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.
Laing however warned that the UK will no longer be used as a destination for looters to siphon proceeds of crimes.
James Ibori hails from Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger-Delta, and he served as the Governor of Delta State from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007.
In 2007, his own kinsmen under the auspices of Delta State Elders and Stakeholders Forum filled corruption charges against him and sent the petition to the EFCC.
In the same year, the Metropolitan Police raided the London offices of barrister Bhadresh Gohil and found computer hard drives containing details of myriad off-shore companies, run on behalf of Ibori by multiple international agents.
Ibori pled guilty to ten counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud at Southwark Crown Court, London after he was accused of stealing US$250 million from the Nigerian public purse in 2012.
When he pled guilty, Ibori also forfeited the following properties to the UK government:
- A house in Hampstead, north London, for £2.2m
- A property in Shaftesbury, Dorset, for £311,000
- A £3.2m mansion in Sandton, near Johannesburg, South Africa
- A fleet of armored Range Rovers valued at £600,000
- A £120,000 Bentley Continental GT
- A Mercedes-Benz Maybach 62 bought for €407,000 cash, that was shipped directly to his mansion in South Africa
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.