UK to return Ksh639 million stolen loot to Nigeria

By , K24 Digital
On Tue, 9 Mar, 2021 16:26 | 2 mins read
James Ibori was jailed in 2012 for money-laundering offences. [PHOTO | COURTESY]
James Ibori was jailed in 2012 for money-laundering offences. [PHOTO | COURTESY]

The UK has promised to return to Nigeria £4.2m (Ksh639 million)) which was stolen by a former governor.

Former Delta State Governor James Ibori was convicted of money laundering in the UK in 2012.

He is thought to have stolen around £50m from the oil-rich state.

This is the first time that money recovered from criminals will be returned to Nigeria since an agreement was signed in 2016, the UK authorities say.

The UK and Nigerian governments signed an agreement on Tuesday that the £4.2m recovered by UK agencies would be sent back to Nigeria for infrastructure projects, such as roads.

Who is James Ibori?

James Ibori went from petty thief to Nigerian state governor to convicted money launderer.

He went to the UK in the 1980s and worked as a cashier at a DIY store in London.

He was convicted in 1991 of stealing from the store but then returned to Nigeria and got involved in politics.

When he ran for Delta State governor, he lied about his date of birth to hide his UK conviction – which would have prevented him standing for office.

He became governor in 1999 and soon began taking money from state coffers. Delta is the source of much of Nigeria’s oil.

The British police began to take an interest in Ibori again in 2005 after they came across a purchase order for a private jet, made through his solicitor in London.

He evaded capture in Nigeria after a mob of supporters attacked police, but was eventually arrested in Dubai in 2010 and was extradited to the UK.

He was convicted in 2012 and was released in 2016.

But he was put in immigration detention and he sued the Home Office for unlawful detention.

A Home Office email, published in the court judgement, recommended to keep him in immigration detention to buy time to work out how to recover at least £57m (Ksh8.7 billion).

He won the case and was awarded £1 (Ksh150) compensation.

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