The Federal Government is yet to return the controversial £4.2million James Ibori loot to the Delta State government, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, clarified on Wednesday in Abuja.
Idris said the money is yet to be returned as the issues surrounding it are yet to be properly resolved.
On Tuesday, the AGF was widely quoted in the media as saying that the money returned to the country
by the UK government has since been paid to the Delta State government.
Ideis was quoted to have said this while appearing before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020.
However, in its reaction to the report, the Delta State government immediately denied receiving the money from the Federal Government.
The spokesperson to the governor, Olisa Ifejika, said while the state government appreciated the efforts of the Federal Government to return the recovered loot to Delta State where it rightly belongs,”the truth is that the money has not hit the Delta State government’s account.”
But, in clarifying the issue and setting the record straight, the Accountant General of the Federation in a statement said the “money is still being awaited.”
The statement signed by the Director of Information and Media in the Office of the AGF, Henshaw Ogubike read:
“The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) wishes to put the records straight regarding the widely circulated media report on the £4.2m Ibori Loot.
“The issue of the £4.2m Ibori Loot has not been properly resolved. The money is still being awaited, after which the issues around it will be resolved before further action is taken.
“For now, no money has been returned to Delta State.
“This explanation is without prejudice to the proceedings at the public hearing that took place yesterday during which the AGF was only making general comments about recoveries relating to State Governments.
“This is the true position as regards the £4.2m Ibori Loot.”
The money recovered from the former Delta State governor, James Ibori, has been a subject of varying controversies since the UK government confirmed it was returned to the Federal Government.
Immediately the UK government made the confirmation, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, announced that “the £4,214,017.66 of the loot associated with the family members of former Delta State governor has been received.”
Initially, Malami said the Executive Council of the Federation (FEC) had given approval for the money to be used in the execution of some ongoing critical infrastructure projects across the country.
The announcement by the Minister triggered criticisms and opposition by some concerned Nigerians and civil society organizations, who faulted the decision.
The concern of the critics was that such a decision did not follow the precedence set in previous cases, where looted assets and monies were returned directly to the government of the states from where the governors the assets and monies were recovered came from.
Although the Accountant General of the Federation in his presentation at the House of Representatives on Tuesday alluded to that template, the statement from his office that the money was still being awaited appears to have fueled the confussion.
Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa recently renewed his appeal to the Federal Government to ensure the £4.2 million Ibori loot was either returned to the state, or invested in specified development projects in the state.