Nigeria to use repatriated funds for Legacy projects
The United Kingdom has concluded negotiations with Nigeria to return the £4.2 million seized from the former governor of Delta State, James Ibori to Nigeria.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, disclosed this at the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and the government of the UK regarding the return and management of stolen assets recovered from Ibori and associates.
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 £4.2m 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 back up to the British authorities while the prosecution of James Ibori lasted in London and today, we are rightfully taking benefit of that cooperation.”
Malami said he was confident that both the Nigerian and British governments remain committed to combating corruption and illicit financial flows and ensuring that looters do not find comfort or safe haven in their respective territories.
He said in consonance with the existing framework in the management of previous recoveries, the Federal Executive Council had 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 to ensure the integrity of the process.
The attorney-general said a reputable Civil Society Organisation had been engaged to monitor and supervise the expenditure of the recovered funds on the execution of these critical projects which are evenly spread across the country.
“We have established, as a government, a reputation of transparency and accountability of utilization of recovered assets as a nation. These assets will in no way be different in terms of application,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, British High Commission to Nigeria, Ms. Catriona Laing noted that the Ibori case is complicated and the United Kingdom authorities is still working on the total actual amount involved in the case.
She assured more of such recoveries from the Ibori case would be returned to Nigeria in due course.