The UK will return £4.2m of Nigerian government funds stolen by a governor from the oil-rich Delta state who served a jail term in London for fraud – in the first such deal between the two countries. The money was stolen by James Ibori and his associates. He was jailed in 2012 for fraud amounting to nearly £50m after a drawn-out extradition procedure and his evasion of arrest and prosecution in Nigeria. A failed appeal in 2018 cleared the way for a seizure of his UK assets. Billions of pounds worth of Nigerian government funds have been taken out of the country and laundered in countries like the UK, where Nigerian elites have built extensive property portfolios and assets. Nigeria’s government under President Muhammadu Buhari has pursued the seizure of UK assets belonging to officials accused of corruption, but has failed to secure their release. The UK government has faced criticism for not doing enough to prevent foreign officials acquiring property and assets in UK jurisdictions. Nigeria said the funds would support substantial key infrastructure work around the country.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN