Metropolitan police seeks global cooperation for EFCC

Channels Television  
Updated February 29, 2012

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) requires international judicial cooperation if it is to successfully prosecute cases against corrupt public officials who stash the nation’s stolen wealth abroad.

Following the successful prosecution of former Delta state governor, James Ibori in London, an officer of the UK Metropolitan Police Proceeds of corruption unit, Paul Whatmore, told Channels Television that the United Kingdom will assist the anti-corruption agency to investigate and prosecute similar cases within its jurisdiction.

Whatmore called collaboration with international jurisdiction to try offences that are committed both locally and across borders. “The EFCC in Nigeria has been a very powerful and helpful partner in this investigation and it will be very nice to see foreign jurisdiction to be able to persecute domestically their own corrupt officials and to persecute offences that are not just occurring in Nigeria.” He added that the offences by these politicians and government officials are “occurring in London and other countries around the world.”

“The fact is that he (Ibori) was using UK as base to loan to that asset and to enjoy a lavish life style so it is incumbent for countries to assist countries in the developing world to protect their assets and it was only right to pursue the jurisdiction for those offences here and that is why we have pursue it from the onset.” “They are people in this country facilitating this offences and it’s only right that we pursue this people” he added.

The EFCC has since its establishment struggled to successfully prosecute corrupt government officials with series of bottlenecks with the judiciary system. The anti-graft agency on Tuesday expressed its delight at the confession of Mr Ibori before the Southwark Crown Court in London where he pleaded guilty to the 10 charge of corruption and financial misappropriation.

The former governor, whose wife, lawyer and a business associate have already been sentenced to different prison terms in the UK, also awaits his sentencing on April 16.

Ibori’s asset in the UK

Mr Whatmore also gave the assurance that a huge effort will be made to recover all assets illegally acquired by the former Delta state governor wherever they are found.

According to the Police officer, the UK authorities will ensure that assets of corrupt Nigerian officials are confiscated and the proceeds repatriated to Nigeria for the benefit of the people. We are following with James Ibori guilty plea today, we will be looking at the assets and confiscate those assets.

He adds that where criminal proceedings can’t be conducted in Nigeria, as British law enforcement agencies will ensure they face justice in the UK. “The process can’t be conducted in Nigeria because he is convicted in the UK court, the offence is charged here” he noted.

British newspaper, Daily Mail revealed on Tuesday that Mr Ibori in 2001 bought a luxury home £2.2million in cash in Hampstead, north London and he bought another one in Shaftesbury, Dorset, for £311,000 in 2005.

The embattled politician also owns another residence in Kenton, north-west London. He also owns an apartment with a block of apartments on Abbey Road, and a fleet of cars including a Bentley Continental worth £150,000.