Ibori Loot: We Won’t Speculate For Now – Delta Govt

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Ibori Loot: We Won’t Speculate For Now – Delta Govt

Ibori Loot: We Won’t Speculate For Now – Delta Govt
January 19
07:11 2020

The Delta State government has urged caution on the expected repatriation of ex-governor James Ibori looted funds to Nigeria by the United Kingdom (UK).

Delta Finance Commissioner Fidelis Tilije who spoke in a telephone interview on Saturday, Asaba said the State government would  not dissipate energy speculating on the return of any looted funds, but would adopt a wait and see attitude.

“For me, what is critical is for patience. We should wait and see if there is any loot, in the first instance, to be returned,” he said against the background of reports last week that  British prosecutor, Jonathan Kinnear, on January 16, launched a fresh attempt to confiscate tens of millions of pounds stolen by Ibori.

The former governor   was convicted of laundering in Britain.

Kinnear, who was said to have begun listing assets that Britain seeks to confiscate from Ibori and return to Nigeria, put the total value of the known proceeds of Ibori’s crimes at about 117 million pounds ($153 million).

He however regretted that only a portion of that sum is likely to be recoverable.

But contacted on Saturday, Tilije said: “ I don’t think we should dissipate energy speculating. Let’s wait and follow the trend of events and at the appropriate time when we get to the bridge, we will cross it.

“We do not know that any money is coming, as we speak. When we know that the money has come, we will do the needful. For now everything is in the realm of rumour.”

He added:” If there is any money to be refunded, do you think   ex-Gov Ibori will fold his arms and do nothing?

“It is possible he was unable to prove that the money belongs to him in London. Do you not think he has an opportunity to reclaim the money in Nigeria? We know he is a large hearted businessman and owns shares in the oil and gas sector. If you check the dividends over the years, nobody can exactly say if that money is not his.”

A senior official of the Federal Ministry of Justice who prayed not to be named, said  the Ibori matter  is within the purview of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which has been handling it from day one.

The official said Delta State might be asked to  pay the cost of investigation and prosecution, which will be deducted from what comes in from the UK.

The EFCC said it was delighted that the UK authorities have commenced moves to ensure permanent forfeiture of the assets seized from Ibori.

“The is what we have preached, and have worked for. You cannot loot a state that gave you the opportunity to lead, and seek to be allowed to keep the loot,” Tony Oriade, EFCC’s acting spokesman told The Nation.

On whether Delta State Government stands a change of benefiting from the outcome of the new confiscation proceedings in London, Oridade said his agency will abide by court’s decision.

“The commission’s position, as it relates to the allocation of forfeited property, is always dictated by the decision of the court.

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