The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has advised the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to use the loot to fund projects in Delta State.
Sagay said this during an interview on Wednesday.
The PACAC chairman said using the latest £4.2m (N2.2bn) tranche of the Ibori loot to fund the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano railway, would be unjust since such projects would have no direct impact on the lives of the people of Delta.
The 80-year-old senior advocate argued that since the funds emanated from the Delta State treasury, it would only be proper for the money to be used for the development of the state.
He said, “The money came from Delta State. Naturally, it must go back to Delta State. I know the basis of the Federal Government argument. It is not just about the MoU. There is a provision in the EFCC Act which says all monies recovered should go to the Federal Government.
“I think they may want to rely on this. However, that law is void because a law cannot be based on transferring the assets belonging to one person to another. My advice is for the Federal Government to ask the Delta State government to nominate projects they want to undertake and then money would be released for the projects.
“The Ibori money being used for Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and others is unacceptable. You cannot use money from Delta State to fix projects in other places. The Federal Government can also use the money to fund its many projects in Delta State like the Benin-Warri road and many others.”
FG can’t spend £4.2m Ibori loot without involving Delta – Reps
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government not to spend the £4.2m (N2.2bn) seized from former Governor James Ibori until the lawmakers conclude an investigation of the repatriation process.
This is just as members of the House from Delta State, where Ibori was governor, insisted that the money should be taken back to the state, while alleging that the actual amount was £6.2m, and not £4.2m.
The House consequently resolved to investigate the circumstances surrounding the recovery and planned disbursement of the loot.
It was reported on Tuesday that the Federal Government had no plan of releasing the money to the Delta State Government, a development rejected by the state government.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), while thanking the UK, had said the money would be used for Federal Government projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the 2nd Niger Bridge and the Abuja-Kano rail.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the House unanimously adopted a motion jointly moved by Delta representatives urging the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, to “stop forthwith further appropriation/and or disbursement of recovered loot of £4.2m pending the final determination of the matter by the House.”
The House also requested the ministry and the AGF to furnish the House with all particulars relating to the recovered money, while directing the House Committees on Finance, Justice, Loans and Recovered Funds to “investigate this matter and revert to the House within two weeks.”
The motion, titled ‘Urgent Need to Halt Appropriation of 4.2 Million Pounds Looted Funds Recovered from a Former Governor of Delta State by the Federal Government,’ was sponsored by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, and Messrs Victor Nwokolo, Nicholas Mutu, Leo Ogor, Nicholas Ossai, Julius Pondi, Ben Igbakpa, Efe Afe, Thomas Ereyitomi and Francis Waive.
Moving the motion, Elumelu said, “The House notes that the sum of £4.2m, being proceeds of looted funds recovered from a former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, is being transferred to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria for appropriation without recourse to the Delta State Government and/or parliament in two weeks’ time.
“The House is aware that the said recovered looted funds belong to the good people of Delta State and, as such, ought to be refunded to the coffers of the Delta State Government for developmental purposes. The House is aware that assets seized by the EFCC from states were returned to such states, i.e. Bayelsa and Abia states, etc.
“The House is worried that if the Federal Government is allowed to appropriate the funds without recourse to the Delta State Government, the people of Delta State will be shortchanged/deprived of their legitimate resources to improve on the economy of the state as well as provide the requisite infrastructural development for their benefit.”