The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, said on Monday that the £4.2 million recovered from associates of the convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, in the United Kingdom (U.K.), would soon be transferred to Nigeria.
Malami’s spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, said in a statement that the delay in the repatriation of the fund since the March 2021 agreement between the Nigerian and U.K. governments was partly caused by documentations in foreign banks.
“Documentations with the banks in different countries often take longer than anticipated. We anticipated two weeks but we are not in control of the banks,” the statement said.
The statement noted that sometimes, when a country transfers funds, it may take more than the expected time due to some documentations.
It added that the government was “working assiduously” to ensure that the fund was repatriated to Nigeria soon.
The representatives of both the U.K. and federal governments had signed an agreement for the return of the money, which translates to about £4.2 million, to Nigeria in Abuja on March 9.
The signing of the agreement, which took place at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, was done under the auspices of the U.K.-Nigeria Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which came into force in 2016.
The British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing, signed the agreement on behalf of the U.K. government while Malami signed it on behalf of the Nigeria government.
Malami, who is also the Minister of Justice, said the federal government, “is in touch with the government of the United Kingdom on the matter.”
“There is neither complacency nor any delay as efforts are being made to ensure successful transfer of the looted funds,” the ministerial spokesperson said.
“To this end, Malami said any moment from now, Nigeria expects the return of £4.2million seized from the associates of convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori,” the statement added.
It added that the AGF office and other relevant government agencies would keep the general public informed once the Ibori loot were received and confirmed.