How to resolve the Ibori loot controversy

How to resolve the Ibori loot controversy

Sunday, March 14, 2021 10:00 am

James Ibori

By Babatunde Ogala

The money allegedly recovered from James Ibori and released to the FG by the UK Government  recently  was tracked, investigated and  recovered by the British Government under British and International  Laws on British soil from James Ibori and his associates and family as suspected proceeds of crime.
The  British Government approached the courts and James Ibori and his associates were prosecuted and convicted in London.
 The court also ordered that the money be forfeited to the British Government.
 Ibori and his associates did not appeal.
 Neither did the Federal Government of Nigeria or  Delta State Government lay claim to the funds.  The money thereafter became vested in the  British government.
The money thereafter was assumed to belong to the British Government by order of court.
The British Government out of benevolence elected to release some of the money to the federal government of Nigeria with certain conditionalites contained in an MOU that it be spent on the completion of 3 projects.
Any attempt by the FGN to use the funds for anything outside these 3 projects will be a breach of the MOU entered into with the owners and donor of the money- the UK Government.
The £4.2 million belonged to the UK Govt pursuant to the order of court  and no other and no one can dictate to them how they spend their money.
My advise however is for the Delta State Government to institute an action against the Federal Government at the Supreme Court or in any other court internationally  and if they can find the law to support them join the UK Government in the suit to claim ownership of all funds recovered by the British from James  Ibori and his associates to be declared as funds belonging to the Delta State Government and same returned to it.
 They will need to prove that the funds were stolen from the coffers of Delta State Government.
And I must also add that the funds recovery were done in accordance with several international conventions.
Below are some applicable laws on crimes and matters of this nature and indeed applied in the instant:
1The UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (15.11.2000),
The UN Convention against Corruption (31 October 2003),
 The Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime, Decision 2007/845/JHA (06.12.2007) of the Council of the European Union , Framework Decision 2006/783/ (06.10.2006)of the Council of the European Union, etc.
2 Article 14 from the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime for our guidance .
I hope this very simple narrative helps
-Ogala is a  Senior Advocate of Nigeria

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