Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Ibori: Why Delta State may not be given any amount from $250m loot

Delta State Government may not receive one kobo from the $250m worth of assets and money the United Kingdom claims a former governor, Chief James Ibori, stole from the state’s

Ibori is currently facing a confiscation hearing that may lead to the permanent forfeiture of all his assets purchased with the proceeds of crime.

Britain had accused Ibori of stealing about $250m from his state, part of which he used to buy houses and luxury vehicles in the UK, the United States and South Africa.

Indications have emerged that Delta State Government which has permanently forfeited $15m of the Ibori loot to the Federal Government for refusing to cooperate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, will again lose out if the $250m loot is repatriated.

According to the law, Delta can only get the money if it files a suit against Ibori and show evidences that the money was stolen.

But the state government which challenged the EFCC’s right to probe Ibori in 2008, still insists that the former governor never stole.

In his ruling on the case of the EFCC vs the Delta State Government on the ownership of the $15m Ibori allegedly offered Nuhu Ribadu, former EFCC Chairman, Justice Gabriel Kolawole lamented that the state government was shielding Ibori.

The judge ruled that money recovered from Ibori must be paid into the Federation Account and not Delta State.

Meanwhile, a source told the Punch that Delta State had so far done nothing to assist in the investigation and prosecution of Ibori and should thus would not be entitled to any money.

The senior detective said the actions of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led government suggested that the state government firmly supports Ibori.

“The state government has not shown any seriousness in helping to recover Ibori’s loot. Back in 2009, the state government did everything possible to frustrate the Federal Government’s efforts and even went to court to challenge the EFCC. They claimed Ibori never stole.

“Much has not changed today because the state government last week issued a statement celebrating the release of Ibori. The Attorney General of the state, Mr. Peter Mrakpor, celebrated Ibori’s release and even called on the Federal Government to pardon him.”

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