From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives, yesterday, charged the government to halt the appropriation and disbursement of £4.2 million recovered by the British government from former Delta State governor, James Ibori.
The House also requested the Ministry of Finance and Attorney General of the Federation(AGF), Abubakar Malami, to furnish it with all particulars relating to the recovered money. It also directed its Committees on Finance, Justice, Loans and Treaties to investigate the issue and report back within two weeks.
Malami was quoted on Tuesday to have said that the fund, which is expected to be repatriated by the British government, would be used to finance critical projects, like the Second Niger bridge, Lagos – Ibadan and Abuja – Kano expressways. However, the House said the money belongs to the Delta State government.
The House resolution followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu and nine others on “urgent need to halt appropriation of £4.2 million looted funds recovered from a former governor of Delta State by the Federal Government.”
Elumelu, in the motion contended that the funds haven been recovered from a former Delta governor, ought to be refunded to the state for developmental purposes.
He faulted the transfer of the funds to the coffers of the Federal Government for appropriation, without recourse to Delta State or National Assembly.
The lawmaker said it would amount to shortchanging and depriving the people of Delta State of what legitimately belongs to them if the Federal Government was allowed to appropriate the funds without recourse to the state government.
“All indications and information to Delta State indicates that the actual money is £6.2million and the Federal Government should ensure that the total of £6.2million is credited not £4.2million as stated.”
Elumelu said unless the Federal Government is stopped “from further dealing/tampering with the said fund, the recovered loot may not be accounted for, and or have any direct bearing or benefit to the people of Delta State, in terms of infrastructures or people oriented projects.”
However, the United Kingdom, has said it is not deciding for Nigeria, how the £4.2 million loot by ex-Delta State Governor, James Ibori, will be spent.
This was even as the United Kingdom encouraged direct communications between the Federal Government and Delta State Government in the interest of openness and transparency.
The British High Commission, Abuja, stated this in a response to Daily Sun’s enquiry after the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, said on a Channels Television programme that one of the conditions given by the United Kingdom to repatriate the Ibori loot was that the money must be tied to certain federal projects.
The projects listed by Malami were the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the Abuja-Kano rail and the Second Niger Bridge.
But the Senior Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission, Abuja, Christopher Ogunmodede, said: “The UK is fully committed to recovering proceeds of corruption and returning them to the countries harmed by the corrupt conduct. In doing so, the government is mindful of its obligations under international law, including the UN Convention Against Corruption, and the principles for transparent and accountable asset return which were endorsed at the Global Forum for Asset Recovery in 2017.”