The Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, has said the £4.2m looted by a former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, which the Federal Government recently repatriated from the United Kingdom, has been returned to the state.
Idris made this known 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, who was grilled by the committee for over one hour, stated that such funds looted from the treasury of a state are always returned to the state.
He added that states can sue the Federal Government to recover such funds.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami had on March 9 said the loot would be used for the construction of the second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano road, and Lagos-Ibadan Express road and not returned to the Delta State Government where it was pilfered from.
He argued that the law that was alleged to have been breached by Ibori was a federal law and that the parties of interests involved in the repatriation of the funds were national and not sub-national governments.
“The major consideration relating to who is entitled to a fraction or perhaps the money in its entirety is a function of law and international diplomacy,” Mr. Malami said during his Tuesday appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
But the Accountant-General told the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee that recoveries are made by the Federal Government on behalf of states.
“It was paid to Delta State,” he said when asked where the money was diverted to.
“So such recoveries go specifically to those states. Honourable Chairman, any recovery arising from the looted funds from a particular state goes to the state. The state governors will not even allow this to fly.”
He added, “Some recoveries are for some state governments, specific state governments. I know there was a time recovery was made on behalf of Plateau State, there was one for Bayelsa, there is one for Delta,” he said when asked where the money was diverted to.
“You know they will not. They will take the Federal Government to court for holding their money. So we don’t joke or play with that, we pay them their money.”
His remarks come a week after The Federal Government announced that it had received the £4.2million seized from the associates of the convicted former governor from the United Kingdom.