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Malami: Ibori’s suit against UK delaying £80m loot repatriation

…says FG’ll soon resuscitate special terrorism prosecution courts

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has said a suit instituted by a former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, against the United Kingdom is delaying the repatriation of additional looted funds worth over £80 million. His revelation, however, emerged on a day he said the Federal Government will soon resuscitate Special Terrorism Prosecution Courts to assist in fighting crime and other related criminal actions. New Telegraph learnt that concerns had heightened since the UK announced on March 9, that it was committed to returning £4.2 million loot recovered from Ibori and his associates.

The recovered loot, according to him, would be used to fund three infrastructural projects — Lagos- Ibadan expressway, Abuja- Kano Expressway, and the second Niger bridge. Speaking on the recovery of additional funds linked to Ibori, Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Umar Gwandu, said there was an “ongoing case in the UK where more than £80 million is held up because of his (Ibori) appeal”. An online news portal, The Cable reported that the AGF said the delay, according to Gwandu, is as a result of Ibori’s appeal against the UK on the confiscation and repatriation of assets linked to him.

Malami said: “The money the Federal Government wants to recover from Ibori is not only £4.2 million. There is a lot of money. So, this one is the one that has been achieved after conviction. It is money gotten from his families, not from Ibori himself. “The matter relating to the £4.2 million has been sealed; the money will be repatriated and the delay was because of documentation.

“But other funds that are related to Ibori is what we are talking about. If the litigation by Ibori continues, it may hamper the successful recovery of other funds. “If a judgment is delivered and you appeal, it means that nobody should enforce that judgment unless a superior court gives another verdict. So, if this continues, it will cause a delay in relation to other funds.”

Recall that the repatriation of the funds had been delayed due to documentation process in foreign banks, as claimed by the AGF. On March 11, Malami had said the Federal Government was still working on the recovery of additional looted assets within the region of £100 million, linked to Ibori. Meanwhile, Malami in a statement by Gwandu yesterday in Abuja, said the move, according to Malami, is geared towards the Federal Government’s commitment to end insecurity in the country.

He said: “The Federal Government is committed to ending insecurity in the country, and added that the courts are to bring to book all those found guilty in connection with terrorism so as to serve as deterrence to others. “In addition to the prosecution of 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers, the measures taken by the government will counter the twin trouble of insurgency and insecurity in the country.”

Malami also, while felicitating with Muslim faithful all over the world on the occasion of the year’s Eid Al- Fitr, noted that Ramadan fast comes with numerous lessons. He said: “The lessons include sincerity, honesty, commitment, sacrifice, selflessness, introspection and empathy, among others.” He, therefore, urged Muslims, as they celebrate, to continue to be law-abiding, have sober reflections and exhibit the imbibed lessons learnt during the period of Ramadan fast. The minister saluted the commitment of clerics in enlightening their followers on various issues during the month of fast, urging them to maintain the tempo, even beyond the period of Ramadan.

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