Thursday, 27 May 2021: In what appeared as ‘eating of your words”, the Accountant General of the Federation, (AGF), Ahmed Idris, on Wednesday recanted his earlier statement when he said that the recovered £4.2 million Ibori loot had not been returned to Delta State after all. He said the issue surrounding the loot had “not been properly resolved.”
Ahmed said the clarification became necessary to put the records straight following media reports on the money.
In a statement issued by his office’s Director of Information, Press and Public Relations, Henshaw Ogubike, Idris, said, “The money is still being awaited, after which the issues around it will be resolved before further action is taken.”
“For now, no money has been returned to Delta State,” he added.
The statement pointed out that the explanation was without prejudice to the proceedings at a public hearing during which the AGF only made general comments about recoveries relating to state governments.
The AGF stated: “This is the true position as regards the £4.2m Ibori Loot. The issue of the £4.2m Ibori Loot has not been properly resolved.
“The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), wishes to put the records straight regarding the widely circulated media report on the £4.2m Ibori Loot.”
CEOAFRICA reports that the Accountant General of the Federation on Tuesday claimed that the £4.2 million loot recovered from a former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, and his associates, which was recently repatriated from the United Kingdom, had been deposited with Delta State.
The Accountant General had made the claim while appearing 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 on Tuesday in Abuja.
He had explained that such funds like that of Ibori, which was looted from the treasury of a state, were always returned to the state.
Asked during the hearing if recovered loots were only for the Federal Government, he had said, “Depending on the nature of recovery. I think there is a need to have an in-depth understanding of this. Some recoveries are for state governments –specific state governments. I know there was a time recovery on behalf of Plateau, there was one for Bayelsa, there was one for Delta. Such recoveries go specifically to those states.”
When further asked where the Ibori loot was paid into, Idris without mincing words, had said it was paid to the Delta State Government.
When he was reminded that his claim was contrary to the stance of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), who had said the agreement the federal Government had with the British government was to use the repatriated loot to complete specific ongoing projects, Idris had said, “No, no, any recovery that is arising from looted funds from a particular state goes to the state. The state governors will not even allow this to fly. They will take the Federal Government to court for holding their money. We don’t joke and we don’t play with that, we pay them their money.”
Recall the Delta state government had earlier on Wednesday denied receiving the said £4.2 million Ibori loot but the governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, appreciated the plan of the Federal Government to return the money to his state.