UK to send recovered loot from corrupt officials back to Nigeria

UK to send recovered loot from corrupt officials back to Nigeria

The UK and Nigerian governments have signed an agreement today (Tuesday 9 March) to send £4.2 million (2.2 billion Naira) of stolen funds recovered by UK agencies back to Nigeria, where it is expected to be spent on key infrastructure and building works for the Nigerian people.

This is the first time that money recovered from criminals will be returned to Nigeria since an agreement was signed in 2016 to recover and return the proceeds of bribery or corruption in a responsible and transparent way.

The money – stolen by the former Governor of Nigeria’s Delta State, James Ibori, and his associates – was retrieved through operations led by UK law enforcement agencies, who worked to identify assets bought in the UK with illicit funds and recover them. In February 2012, Mr Ibori pleaded guilty in a UK court to money laundering, conspiracy to defraud, and forgery, and was sentenced to a total of 13 years in prison.

Hopefully more of this will be happening and not just a one-off. A few questions need asking:

  • Who will monitor the use of the returned money?
  • How will the value of the projects benefitting be assessed?

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