The United Kingdom has launched a fresh bid to confiscate “proceeds of loot” in the £117 million worth of properties linked to James Ibori, former governor of Delta state.
In 2012, a UK court sentenced Ibori – who governed Delta from 1999 to 2007 – to prison after convicting him of fraud and money laundering.
The former governor ended his jail term in 2016 and returned to Nigeria the following year.
In the course of his jail term, British prosecutors made the first attempt to confiscate his assets said to be proceeds of crime but failed as a result of unresolved legal issues.
Subsequent attempts to seize the properties also hit the rock even as Ibori’s appeal against his conviction was unsuccessful.
However, Reuters is reporting that the process to confiscate the properties was re-launched in court on Thursday.
Jonathan Kinnear, a British prosecutor, was said to have listed the assets UK is seeking to seize from the former governor “and return to Nigerian public funds.
Kinnear was quoted to have said the total value of the “known proceeds of his (Ibori’s) crimes” is £117 million (the equivalent of about N55.4 billion) but that “only a portion of that sum is likely to be recoverable.”
In 2018, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said Ibori is “fighting tooth and nail” to stall the confiscation of those assets.
In an edition of its monthly media publication, EFCC ALERT, the anti-graft agency had said Ibori is on a “campaign of calumny” targeted at UK police officers in retaliation of his conviction.
The report, written by Segun Adeoye, an assistant editor of the publication, also accused him of employing media propaganda to paint himself as “a victim of persecution.”