The EFCC has urged the Federal High Court in Abuja not to order the release of the unclaimed $15 million (about N2.4 billion) “Ibori loot” to the Delta Government. The money was paid into the Central Bank of Nigeria by the EFCC, after it claimed that the money was used to bribe its officials.
The EFCC, in a fresh application filed on Tuesday by its counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said the Federal Government was interested in raising a fresh objection against the claimant. In the application, the EFCC is claiming that Delta Government lavishly spent monies returned to it on a N50 million building grant in 2008. EFCC said that it had stumbled on an evidence, which showed that part of the money was sent to former Gov. James Ibori in London, while standing trial for money laundering charges in 2010.
The commission said the $15 million dollars was received by its officers from an undisclosed agent of Ibori in 2007 as bribe to compromise their investigation. “The EFCC deposited the cash into the strong room number one of the CBN on April 26, 2007.’’ The commission also said that Ibori denied ever giving the money to either the anti-graft body or any of its officers, adding that the money was a product of corruption. EFCC said that the money remained unclaimed since April 2007 till date and had remained dormant in the strong room of the bank.
The commission, therefore, urged the court to refuse the claimant’s prayer for the money to be returned to it. Counsel to Delta Government, Mr Charles Ajuyah, said he needed time to prepare an argument against the new objection. Justice Gabriel Kolawole, therefore, gave Delta Government 14 days to react to the new counter affidavit. Kolawole adjourned the case to Jan. 10, 2013 for hearing of the application.