Despite the claim by the federal government that it has returned to the Delta State Government the money recovered from associates of a former Governor of the state, Chief James Ibori, the state government said Tuesday that it was yet to receive the £4.2 million recently returned by the British government.
Earlier Tuesday, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, had said that the government had returned the £4.2 million to the state.
Idris spoke when he appeared in Abuja 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.
When asked where the Ibori loot was paid into, Idris said it was paid to Delta State Government.
However, his assertion was contrary to the explanation by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), who said the agreement the federal government had with the British government was to use the repatriated funds to complete some specific ongoing projects.
However, when reminded that his position was contrary to the information that it was meant for specified projects, Idris added: “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.”
But an official of the Delta State Government, who spoke to ThisDay Tuesday on condition of anonymity, said the state government was yet to receive the money.
“I think it would be premature for government to talk about a claim made by the federal accountant-general on air or while speaking with a committee of the House of Representatives. When Delta is duly credited with such payment, then it would be proper for the government to make an official pronouncement on the matter.
“You’d observe that His Excellency, the governor, didn’t say a word or joined issues with anyone when the media were awash with reports that the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Malami, had bluntly said that the federal had received the returned funds but that the federal government would not release the money to Delta.
“In the same way, I think we should all wait until the state government certified that it has indeed received the said money into its treasury,” the source said.