Ibori’s £4.2m Loot Returned To Delta State Govt – Accountant-General

 

The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris on Tuesday said the £4.2m looted by ex-Delta State Governor, James Ibori, has been returned to the state.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami had on March 9 said the loot would be used for the construction of the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano road, and Lagos-Ibadan Express road and not returned to the Delta State Government where it was pilfered from.

He argued that the law that was alleged to have been breached by Ibori was a federal law and that the parties of interests involved in the repatriation of the funds were national and not sub-national governments.

“The major consideration relating to who is entitled to a fraction or perhaps the money in its entirety is a function of law and international diplomacy,” Mr. Malami said during his Tuesday appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

Former Delta State Governor, James Ibori

But the Accountant-General told the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee that recoveries are made by the Federal Government on behalf of states.

The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris appears before the House of Reps Ad hoc Committee in Abuja on May 25, 2021.

 

According to him, any recovery arising from looted funds from a particular state would go directly to the states.

“It was paid to Delta State,” he said when asked where the money was diverted to. “So such recoveries go specifically to those states. Honourable Chairman, any recovery arising from the looted funds from a particular state goes to the state. The state governors will not even allow this to fly.”

READ ALSO: FG Expects £4.2m Ibori Loot From UK Govt Soon

He added, “Some recoveries are for some state governments, specific state governments. I know there was a time recovery was made on behalf of Plateau State, there was one for Bayelsa, there is one for Delta,” he said when asked where the money was diverted to.

“You know they will not. They will take the Federal Government to court for holding their money. So we don’t joke or play with that, we pay them their money.”

His remarks come a week after The Federal Government announced that it had received the £4.2million seized from the associates of the convicted former governor from the United Kingdom.

 

Nigeria Receives £4.2m Ibori Loot

Former Delta State Governor, James Ibori was convicted in the United Kigdom.

 

Nigeria has received the £4.2million seized from the associates of convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori from the United Kingdom.

This is according to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who disclosed this on Tuesday via a statement issued by his spokesman, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.

He confirmed that the “Federal Government of Nigeria has received GBP 4,214,017.66 of the loot associated with the family members of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.”

According to the statement, “the amount has been credited into the designated Federal Government account with naira equivalent value of the amount as of 10th May 2021.”

Malami was said to have signed the Memorandum of Understanding for the repatriation of the Ibori loot on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Return £4.2m Ibori Loot To Delta State, Reps Tell FG

The Minister said the development was a demonstration of the recognition of reputation Nigeria earns through records of management of recovered stolen Nigerian stolen in the execution of public-oriented projects.

On May 3, Malami had announced that the United Kingdom would repatriate the looted fund to Nigeria any moment from now.

He had explained that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was working tirelessly to ensure the return of looted Nigerian assets kept outside the country’s territorial boundaries, adding that that the Federal Government of Nigeria was in touch with the UK government on the matter.

“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.

He noted that the Federal Government is working assiduously to make sure that the transfer goes through successfully.

 

 

Gowon Dismisses Allegation Of Looting CBN, Asks UK Lawmaker To Check His Record

A file photo of former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon.

 

Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has dismissed the allegations of money laundering levelled against him by a member of the United Kingdom parliament.

The elder statesman condemned the claims in an interview with Channels Television on Thursday, three days after the UK lawmaker, Tom Tugendhat, accused him of looting half of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He stated that it was disappointing that a British parliamentarian could make such a statement without checking the facts.

“It is certainly surprising, and I am disappointed that a British parliamentarian could make such a statement without checking the facts of what he was saying.

“I honestly was disappointed that such a remark is made,” the former Nigerian leader told Channels Television London correspondent via telephone.

He insisted that there was no time when he was held or questioned for money laundering, stressing that the allegation that he looted the nation’s treasury was false.

Check My Record

General Gowon, who said he heard about the allegation from social media, insisted that there was nothing to hide and the record was there for the lawmaker and the British authorities to check.

He also called on the UK government to take the necessary step to order, stressing that making an allegation of such was an insult to him and Nigeria as a nation.

[READ ALSO] #EndSARS: UK Parliament Does Not Speak For British Govt – FG


Watch the video of the UK parliament’s deliberation to which the Nigerian government is reacting below:


The former Head of State said, “The record of my service to the nation is there for everybody to see and even the British government itself, and I don’t know why somebody got the information to make such a very ridiculous statement.

“I am disappointed with that one and I hope the British authority will do something to rightly bring that parliamentarian to order to check his facts before he makes such allegation because it is more or less an insult to the leadership of Nigeria and certainly an insult to me to say that I did something of the sort to take half of Nigeria’s Central Bank and I must have put it in a British bank.”

“So, he should check all the British banks to see whether any such thing has happened, and he (the UK lawmaker) will be surprised that I was not being held for money laundering,” he added.

General Gowon, 86, served as the Head of State from 1966 to 1975.

Tugendhat had accused General Gowon and some other leaders in Nigeria of robbing the people during a debate on a petition on #EndSARS at the UK parliament.

He also alleged that the leaders ran to London to hide the loots, adding that British banks were used for illegal transfer of assets.

Police Recover Looted Items, Arrest 93 Suspects In Kaduna

Some of the suspects paraded by the police in Kaduna State on October 31, 2020.

 

The police have arrested 93 suspects in connection with the looting and vandalisation of public and private properties in various parts of Kaduna State.

Mr Umar Muri, the Commissioner of Police in Kaduna, disclosed this on Saturday while briefing reporters on the security situation in the state.

The arrest came days after some residents hiding under the #EndSARS protest invaded some government warehouses, including the office of the National Agency for Food Drug Administration (NAFDAC), as well as private properties and carted away COVID-19 palliatives and seized fake and expired drugs, among other items.

Muri stated that the arrested suspects were responsible for the unprecedented vandalisation and theft of public and private properties across the state.

He revealed that the police also recovered several looted items, including bags of grains, mattresses,  bundles of zinc, computers, air conditioners, water testing machines, and many others, all looted from the NAFDAC office and other places.

According to the police commissioner, the command, working in collaboration with other sister security agencies have so far dealt decisively with all acts of lawlessness in the state.

He noted that efforts were ongoing to charge all the suspects to court for the crimes committed.

A photo taken on October 31, 2020, shows some suspects paraded by the police in Kaduna State backing the camera.

 

Elsewhere, the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, met with youth leaders from the 23 Local Government Areas of Kaduna where he appealed to them not to engage in any act of violence or looting.

He gave an assurance that those behind the looting and threat to peace in Kaduna South and Chikun LGAs would be prosecuted in line with the provisions of the law.

The governor also condemned the recent attack on policemen and police barracks in some parts of the country, during which some security personnel were killed.

Although he admitted that there were some bad officers in the force that should be fished out, he warned against attacking police officers or tagging the entire force as bad.

El-Rufai stressed the need for citizens and leaders to come together and help the police to perform better in securing the lives and property of the people.

The meeting had in attendance the deputy governor, Hadiza Balarabe, and the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Mahmoud, among other top government officials.

Taraba Govt Sets Up Task Force To Recover Looted Items

Taraba State Deputy Governor, Haruna Manu, inaugurates a task force committee on the recovery of looted items in the state on October 30, 2020.

 

The Taraba State government has inaugurated an 11-man task force committee to recover all looted items, as well as assess the level of damage done to private and government facilities in four local government areas of the state.

The deputy governor, Haruna Manu, inaugurated the committee on Friday in Jalingo, the state capital.

He explained that the rationale behind the constitution of the committee was to right the wrongs of the rampaging youths during the lootings carried out between October 24 and 27.

“The state government, in its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property, has already taken measures to curtail the excesses of these hoodlums who derive pleasure in violence by looting in the state capital and other three local government areas of Ardo-Kola, Takum, and Wukari,” he said.

Manu added, “Government has decided to set up this task force committee to recover all looted items from public and private offices or surrendered items in the state with a view to restoring them to their rightful owners who have fallen victims of circumstance.”

In his remarks at the inauguration ceremony, he listed the terms of reference to include identifying all persons who aided or abated the removal of public and private properties.

The committee was also charged to identify and ascertain all public and private properties looted, and the extent of damage or losses occasioned by the violence in the state.

Manu urged the committee led by Retired Lieutenant Colonel Nashuka Tukura to work within the ambit of the law and the Constitution of the country.

He also asked the members to identify casualties, recommend the way forward, and tender their report within 14 days.

“I call on the residents of Taraba to join hands and cooperate with the committee members to restore sanity to the socio-economic and political life of the state in order to bring about the desired development,” the deputy governor said.

He called on those involved in the looting to willingly surrender the items stolen, warning that failure to do so would attract severe consequences.

Police Arrest Over 200 Suspected Looters In Lagos

 

The Lagos State Police Command says it has arrested over 200 suspects for their involvement in the series of looting recorded in the state.

Mr Hakeem Odumosu, who is the Commissioner of Police in Lagos, paraded the suspects and some of the items recovered from them on Tuesday at the Police Headquarters in Ikeja.

He explained that personnel of the command deployed on a recovery mission went on a house-to-house search of all looted items in various parts of the state.

The police commissioner stated that the arrested persons took advantage of the #EndSARS protest and got mixed with demonstrators to commit the crime.

He described the #EndSARS protesters as peaceful and well-behaved citizens, noting that it took the police a lot of professionalism before the suspects were arrested.

Three suspected looters paraded at the Police Headquarters in Lagos State on October 27, 2020.

 

“As far as I am concerned now, there is no #EndSARS person there,” Odumosu told reporters while pointing to the paraded suspects.

He added, “Because the #EndSARS people are responsible and reliable members of the public. There is no #EndSARS person that will go and carry a television, and you know when they mix with them (the #EndSARS protesters), we need a lot of patience, intelligence, and professionalism.

“All these ones are mop-up operations that we are doing, there is no way I will put on an army uniform without a trained army not seeing fault in the way I put it on because I am not trained to put it on. So, we have intelligence, we have sent our men out.”

A looted motorcycle and a generator recovered are paraded at the Police Headquarters in Lagos State on October 27, 2020.

 

Reacting to the attacks on some police stations in the state, the police commission insisted that the command has swung into full security operations.

He assured peaceful residents of the security of their lives and properties and urged them to continue to provide useful information that would lead to the arrest of more suspects.

On stolen arms and ammunitions carted away during the attack on police stations, Odumosu said the police have gone after the hoodlums and were already recovering them.

A crowd of suspected looters is paraded at the Police Headquarters in Lagos State on October 27, 2020.

Looting: Politicians Sponsoring Angry Youths To Overthrow Govt – Abdulrasaq

File Photo of Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq.

 

Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, says some politicians are sponsoring some angry youths to overthrow the country’s government.

He said this on Sunday while inspecting looted malls in Ilorin the state capital, describing the situation as sad and handiwork of disgruntled persons.

“Behind the ideas (of angry youths) are people with ideologies of trying to overthrow the government, loot the country or trying to take some sort of advantage the legitimate concerns of #EndSARS,” he said.

After inspecting the damages inflicted on business outfits by hoodlums and looters hiding under the guise of EndSARS protesters, Governor Abdulrasaq announced a N500 million fund to assist owners of looted businesses.

While condemning the looting of people’s businesses on Friday and Saturday, the Kwara leader said there can be no justification for such criminal behaviour.

“We are therefore not going to leave the business owners like that. We are setting up a N500 million fund for those that were affected, to access.

“The application form is live and active on the state government’s website and can now be filled by interested parties. We are going to get them back on their feet as soon as possible,” he added.

He sympathised with owners of all the businesses affected, adding that the incident may bring businesses to their knees and cause massive loss of jobs and a surge in the poverty rate.

He was also at the Agro mall where the materials meant for the flood victims in four local governments were kept before being looted.

SERAP Sues Buhari Over ‘Failure To Publish Details Of N800bn Recovered Loot’

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over failure to publish details of the N800bn recovered loot.

In a statement issued on Sunday by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group wants the Federal Government to “disclose information and documents relating to the names of people from whom N800 billion in looted public funds have been recovered, specific dates of the recovery, and details of projects on which the money has been spent.”

The group recalled that during the Democracy Day on June 12, President Buhari revealed that his administration has recovered looted funds more than N800billion which were being used for infrastructural projects.

But in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1064/2020 filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, SERAP sought for “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and/or compel President Buhari to publish a comprehensive list of names of people from whom N800 billion in looted funds have been recovered, the details of spending of the money, and the specific dates of the recovery.”

READ ALSO: Lagos Schools To Reopen In September, Says Sanwo-Olu

Joined in the suit as Respondents are the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and the the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

SERAP sues Buhari over ‘failure to publish details of N800bn recovered loot’

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over failure to “disclose information and documents relating to the names of people from whom N800 billion in looted public funds have been recovered, specific dates of the recovery, and details of projects on which the money has been spent.”

The President had in paragraph 78 of his speech to mark the occasion of the Democracy Day on June 12, 2020, stated that: “the government has recovered looted funds in excess of N800 billion. These monies are being ploughed into development and infrastructure projects.”

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1064/2020 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and/or compel President Buhari to publish a comprehensive list of names of people from whom N800 billion in looted funds have been recovered, the details of spending of the money, and the specific dates of the recovery.”

SERAP is also seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to instruct appropriate anti-corruption agencies to promptly, thoroughly and transparently investigate alleged payment of N51 billion of public funds into individual private accounts in 2019.”

Joined in the suit as Respondents are Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “The court ought to compel the Respondents to disclose the details and whereabouts of the public funds. There is no legally justifiable reason why the information should not be made widely available to Nigerians, especially as the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) requires the government in section 15(5) to abolish all forms of corruption. That means ensuring transparency and accountability in the management of public resources and wealth.”

The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) request dated 13 June, 2020 to President Buhari, stating that: “The public has a right to know how recovered N800bn loot has been spent, and the details and purpose of the alleged payments of N51bn into individual private accounts. Transparency over transactions by the government is critical to ensuring public confidence in the integrity of management of public resources and wealth.”

SERAP is also arguing that: “Granting the reliefs sought will ensure transparency and accountability, as the information sought to be published will reveal the truth of where money is going and why it is there, and allow Nigerians an opportunity to assess the impacts of any projects carried out with the recovered loot and the alleged payments into individual private accounts.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “As a signatory to the UN Convention against Corruption, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Nigeria has committed to ensure transparent management of public resources, and unhindered access to public information. These commitments ought to be fully upheld and respected.”

“Transparency and accountability in governance is in the public interest. Publishing the details regarding the N800 billion recovered loot and investigating the alleged suspicious payments into personal accounts would be entirely consistent with Nigeria’s international anti-corruption commitments.”

“The authorities are required to set the highest standards of transparency, accountability and probity in the management of these resources and wealth, and the programmes that they oversee.”

“Disclosing the details of projects on which the N800bn recovered loot have been spent and publishing a comprehensive list of names of people from whom they have been recovered, as well as investigating alleged payment of billions of naira into individual private accounts, would be entirely consistent with the oft-expressed anti-corruption commitments by the government.”

It would be recalled that BudgIT, a civic tech organization, recently reported that “the open treasury portal by the federal government allegedly showed that payments totalling N51bn were made into individual accounts in 2019.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Kolawole Oluwadare

SERAP Deputy Director

30/08/2020

Lagos, Nigeria

FG Recovers N800bn Looted Funds, Convicts 1,400 – Lai Mohammed

 

The Federal Government says it has recovered looted funds in excess of N800 billion with over 1,400 convictions secured.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Tuesday at a press conference in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

He said, “As I said earlier, this administration’s fight against corruption is as strong as ever, and we have the records to back up this claim.

“This administration has recorded over 1,400 convictions, including high profile ones, and recovered funds in excess of N800 billion, not to talk of forfeiture of ill-gotten properties. This is no mean feat.”

Deterring Corruption Acts

According to the minister, Nigerians have recently been inundated with allegations of monumental corruption in a number of government agencies.

 

He listed some of the agencies to include the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mohammed faulted those he described as ‘naysayers’ for misinterpreting the recent developments as a sign that the corruption fight of the Muhammadu Buhari administration was waning.

He, however, insisted that the fight against corruption which he said was a cardinal programme of the government was alive and well.

The minister said, “Remember, gentlemen, that the fight against corruption is not about loot recovery or convictions alone. We are also putting in place enduring institutional reforms that will deter acts of corruption.

“Here we are talking about the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Whistleblower Policy, the expansion of the coverage of the Integrated Payroll Personnel and Information System, as well as the Government Integrated Management Information System and the Open Government Partnership and Transparency Portal on Financial Transactions, among others.”

He, therefore, asked those criticising the government’s anti-corruption fight to stop engaging in wishful thinking and focus on the full ramifications of the fight.

Buhari Vows To Ensure Recovered Monies Do Not Return To ‘Looters’

President Muhammadu Buhari meets with members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) at the State House in Abuja on November 16, 2018.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption takes longer time, especially with the need to adhere to the rule of law.

He stated this on Friday when he received members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), led by its President, Dr Samson Ayokunle, at the State House in Abuja.

The President disclosed what he told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to do with monies recovered from alleged looters in the country.

“It is on record that some cases initiated by the anti-graft bodies since 2003 are yet to be concluded,” he said, adding, “We will, however, not be discouraged.”

“Where monies have been recovered, such monies will not find their way back to the looters as I have directed EFCC to account for every money it has recovered and put them in a dedicated account.”

READ ALSO: CAN Visits Buhari, Demands El-Zakzaky’s Release

President Buhari said his vision and objectives for Nigeria were very clear and that he was already on course to achieve them.

He also stressed that he was doing his best to fulfil his electoral promises of securing the country, fighting corruption and resuscitating the economy.

Responding to the request of CAN for an overhaul of the intelligence gathering system, the President said the burden of intelligence gathering involves everyone.

According to him, those directly involved include district heads, traditional rulers, opinion leaders and religious leaders who are very close to the grassroots.

President Buhari, who decried that the bandits operating in various communities live among the people, urged the leaders of thought in various communities to avail security agencies with information about the criminals.

On the general elections in 2019, he told the Christian leaders that he had assurances from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the polls would be free and fair, noting that he has been a victim of ‘fraudulent elections’ and beneficiary of a free and fair election in the past.

“When I decided to put on this Agbada to see what the people are seeing in it, I tried three times, 2003, 2007 and 2011, but the fourth time, in 2015, I succeeded,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

“We thank God and technology in the form of Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) and card reader because what they used to do was to look at constituencies, award the votes and then they will say whoever didn’t agree should go to court.

“When people are looking for what to eat, where do they have the money to go to court to pay the SANs?” President Buhari wondered.

He also informed the CAN delegation that the Federal Government was working towards finding a lasting solution to the clashes between farmers and herders in the country.

UK Repatriates £70m To Nigeria, Pledges To Return More Loot

UK Repatriates £70m, Pledges To Return More Loots
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright.

 

The United Kingdom has returned the sum of £70 million recovered from a Nigerian who was convicted of fraud in an Italian court.

British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, revealed this while addressing reporters in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

READ ALSO: British PM, Theresa May To Visit Nigeria

He said, “There was an Italian court case with a particular person involved. A portion the fund has been in the UK and that was the portion that was returned recently from the UK to Nigeria. So, it’s in that context that the 70 million (pounds) was returned.”

Mr Arkwright, however, refused to disclose the identity of the Nigerian involved in the offence.

He said more funds would be repatriated, stressing that his country was working with the Nigerian government to accelerate the legal process of returning the looted money.

“The British government has no intention of keeping one kobo of Nigerian funds in the UK,” said the diplomat. “It all must come back to Nigeria.”

He added, “Just as in Nigeria, the UK feels that the judicial process is important, and we have to go through those processes before the money can be returned.”

Arkwright also confirmed that British Prime Minister Theresa May will visit Nigeria as part of her visit to Africa.

May is expected in Nigeria on Wednesday.