Chief James Ibori
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) Tuesday told a Federal High Court in Abuja not to release to Delta State, the controversial $15 million allegedly offered to EFCC as bribe by the former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori.
In a counter-affidavit filed before the court by the anti-graft agency, the court was asked to refuse the request because the state government had not been able to account for previous monies recovered from the former governor which were released to the state.
The EFCC said that sometime in 2008, it returned the sum of N50 million to the state which it recovered from the former governor, but that the money was later in 2010, wired back to Ibori’s bank account in London in the form of building grant by the state government.
The commission urged the court to refuse the state government’s claim over the bribe money because the state would likely transfer the money to Ibori who is currently serving jail term in London following his conviction on money laundering charges in a London court.
A dumbfounded Attorney General of the state, Mr. Charles Ajuyah (SAN), in his response to the counter-affidavit requested for time to enable him study it and to file a formal response.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole consequently adjourned for further hearing in the matter till January 10, 2013.
EFCC had applied to the court for forfeiture of the money and for the money to be paid into the federation account as income to the government.
However, the state applied to the court and asked the court to compel EFCC to return the money to the state because the money belongs to the state.