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Ibori Loot: FG Frustrated Ibori’s Trial In Uk – Falana

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Femi Falana, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has stated that the federal government frustrated the trial of former governor of Delta State, James Ibori in the United Kingdom (UK) but now intends to receive the recovered loot.

It was earlier reported  that the  UK government made a pledge to return £4.2 million loot recovered from Ibori to the federal government.

The  Attorney-general  of the federation, Abubakar Malami, had stated that the recovered loot would be used to fund federal projects.

This has sparked controversy as to who should receive the returned loot.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Falana stated that the federal  government  did not support the prosecution of Ibori in the UK.

“In fact, in utter breach of the provisions of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between Nigeria and the United Kingdom the then Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Michael Aondoakaa SAN rejected the request to make relevant documents available for the trial in the United Kingdom on the ground of sovereignty. In particular, Chief Aondoakaar refused to entertain the request of the UK Metropolitan Police and made under bilateral mutual assistance to Nigeria on the ground that the request was not made by the Home Office,” Falana said.

As far as international law is concerned the recovered fund belongs to the people of Delta State who are the victims of the corrupt practice of Chief Ibori.  The British Government is releasing the stolen money to Nigeria in strict compliance with international law and not out of sheer generosity as erroneously argued by some lawyers.

He made examples of past situations saying that the federal government “had handed over the fund stolen by two former governors, in similar circumstances, to the people of Bayelsa and Plateau States”,  stressing  that Delta should not be an exception.

He faulted the government of Delta State for denying that no money was missing from his coffers but that shouldn’t be the basis through which the state should forfeit the loan as President Muhammadu Buhari had claimed that Sani Abacha, the late military dictator, did not loot the country but his government received the $321 million Abacha loot from Switzerland.

 “From the foregoing, it is undoubtedly clear that the huge success recorded in the prosecution of the case was anchored on the collaboration between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Metropolitan Police. To that extent, the Federal Government which had set out to frustrate the trial of Chief Ibori cannot turn round to lay claim to the fund confiscated on the orders of the British courts. Having regards to the facts and circumstances of the case , the Ibori loot belongs to the people of Delta State under domestic and international law,” he said.

“Finally, no doubt, the former Delta State Government was irresponsible to have denied that Chief Ibori looted the treasury of the State at the material time. But such denial cannot be a justification for the confiscation of the Ibori loot of over £100 million that is expected to be repatriated to Nigeria by the British Government. After all, before his assumption of office as President in May 2015, General Mohammadu Buhari had repeatedly maintained that the late General Sani Abacha did not steal a dime from the account of the Federal Government. But the Federal Government under the President’s watch has continued to recover the remaining Abacha loot and no one has suggested that such recovered loot be paid to the account of the United Nations or African Union on moral grounds.”

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=60742

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