The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has revealed why Nigeria is yet to receive the £4.2 million allegedly looted by a former governor of Delta State, James Ibori.
Recall that at a ceremony on March 9, Malami, who represented the Federal Government signed an agreement with Catriona Laing, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, had announced that the funds would be repatriated within two weeks.
But in a statement on Monday, the spokesman of the AGF, Dr. Umar Gwandu said issues relating to documentation of funds transfers took a little bit time more than expected.
“Documentations with the banks in different countries often take longer than anticipated. We anticipated two weeks but we are not in control of the banks.
“There is neither complacency nor any delay as efforts are being made to ensure successful transfer of the looted funds,” he said.
Recall that AGF Malami, while speaking at the ceremony, said the loot would be used for the completion of ongoing work on the 2nd Niger Bridge, Abuja to Kano and Lagos Ibadan expressways.
He said: “I wish to remark that today’s ceremony and the recoveries attached thereto has again underscored the fact that international cooperation and mutual trust can yield great benefits for the citizenry in developing countries who are the direct victims of acts of corruption. Hence, the Governments of Nigeria and the United Kingdom have concluded negotiations for the return of £4.2million to Nigeria pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding earlier executed by the two governments in 2016.
“It is to be recalled that the Nigerian Government had all along provided the required mutual assistance and backup to the British authorities while the prosecution of James Ibori lasted in London and today, we are rightfully taking benefit of that cooperation. I cannot but observe that what we are witnessing today is a glaring manifestation of the agelong national ties between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
“I am confident that both the Nigerian and British governments remain committed to all affirmative actions to combat corruption/illicit financial flows, ensure that looters do not find comfort or save haven in our territories and also to guarantee that the forfeited or recovered proceeds of corruption are deployed to the benefit of the masses.
“Hence, in consonance with existing framework or model engaged in the management of previous recoveries, the Federal Executive Council under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the instant repatriated funds should be deployed towards the completion of the following legacy projects: the Second Niger Bridge, Abuja – Kano expressway and the Lagos – Ibadan expressway under the coordination of the Nigeria Social Investment Authority (NSIA) to ensure integrity of the process while a reputable Civil Society Organization has been engaged to monitor/supervise the expenditure of the recovered funds on the execution of these critical projects which are evenly spread across the country.”