* We haven’t received it, Delta govt counters
After an initial reluctance, the Federal government said on Wednesday that it has finally returned the recently repatriated £4.2million looted by former governor James Ibori from the United Kingdom to the Delta State government.
The development was confirmed on Wednesday by the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris.
Idris disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday when he appeared before the House of Representatives’ Ad hoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020 by Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for Effective Efficient Management and Utilisation.
The Accountant-General told the committee such funds looted from the treasury of a state are always returned to the state when repatriated.
He added that states can sue the Federal government to recover such funds.
When asked where the Ibori loot was paid into, Idris without mincing words, said it was paid to Delta State government.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had last week during a monitored interview on Channels Television ruled out the possibility of sharing the funds with the Delta State government.
The Delta State government and Niger Delta groups had earlier requested that the funds must on repatriation from the United Kingdom be transferred to the State where it was stolen from.
“I have spoken with the Attorney-General of the Federation. My Attorney-General went to have a meeting with him. I think that we are working and we are likely to come on the same page. We have written a formal letter of protest to Mr. President.
“We have made two suggestions; return the money directly to us or apply it directly to projects that we feel are of importance and are in Delta State so that Deltans can directly benefit from the repatriated funds and I don’t think anybody can fault that line (of thinking),” Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had said during a recent interview on Channels TV.
However, the AGF said Nigeria would not breach the agreement reached with the United Kingdom government concerning the disbursement of the fund.
Malami had said last Wednesday that the government would expend the money on projects. He listed the projects the money would be spent on according to the agreement reached.
The minister said: “The way international diplomatic processes operate with particular regard to the recovery of looted asset is more or less about engagement among the nations of interest.”
But curiously, the Delta State government has refuted the claims by Ahmed Idris that the Federal government has returned the repatriated £4.2million loot to its coffers.
The Delta State government said neither the repatriated £4.2million nor the monthly allocation (May FAAC) has been received from Federal government.