Why Ibori loot should go to FG — Malami
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has explained why the loot recovered from James Ibori, former governor of Delta State, should go to the Federal Government and not the state.
He made the explanation against the deluge of reactions that has been trailing the announcement by the Federal Government that the recovered loot would be used for infrastructural development.
The Federal Government specifically mentioned projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the 2nd Niger Bridge and the Abuja-Kano rail, giving no indication that Delta State would receive a portion of the funds.
But while featuring on a Channels Television programme, yesterday, Malami buttressed the FG’s position on the recovered loot by saying the law which Ibori breached is a federal law, and not that of Delta state.
He said, “The major consideration to who is entitled to a fraction or perhaps the money in its entirety is a function of law and international diplomacy, among others.
“It is a function of law, in the sense that the law in contention that was alleged to have been breached is a federal law. That is the starting point.
“In dealing with international community and international diplomacy, the parties of interest are the state parties (referring to sovereign countries), and not sub-national governments that are involved.”
Malami also insisted that the federal government is the “victim”, adding that Delta state was not involved in the recovery of the funds.
“With those backgrounds in mind, all the processes associated with the recovery are processes consummated by the federal government. The federal government is indeed the victim of crime and not sub-national.
“The law is a federal law that was alleged to have been breached, and then, the parties are nationals and not sub-nationals — the UK government where the money was eventually looted to, and then the Nigerian government that had pursued the recovery of such money.
“Whether Delta state government will benefit from it or not, is a function of local law, but certainly, the agreement as consummated for the parties is for the benefit of the Nigerian state as a victim of crime, and not the Delta state government as sub-national.” Malami added.
The United Kingdom has made a commitment to return £4.2 million loot recovered from Ibori to the federal government.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, signed a memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Government represented by Malami in Abuja yesterday.
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).