In What Currency Did UK Return The Ibori Loot? Naira Or Pounds?

Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), had on May 18, announced that the federal government had received the £4.2 million loot recovered from James Ibori, former Delta governor, and his associates.


The AGF, through his special assistant on media, Umar Gwandu, said the money was paid into the designated federal government account in naira equivalent.

But did the AGF goof in the course of sharing information about the recovered loot?

WHAT CURRENCY IS STATED IN THE MOU?

Usually, the terms and conditions for which funds will be repatriated are stated in a document called the memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The MOU clearly states the amount to be returned, the account to which the money should be paid, what the money should be used for, among other details.

TheCable obtained the MOU signed between the UK government and Nigeria to return the £4.2 million loot.

In the MOU, it is clearly stated that the UK will transfer the funds “to the British Pounds ‘Designated Account’ for Asset Recovery at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)”.

“The federal government of Nigeria will ensure that the Central Bank of Nigeria transfers the returned funds to a pounds-denominated account designated by the Nigeria Sovereign lnvestment Authority (NSIA) (the “NSIA Designated Account”) within fourteen (14) days of receipt of the returned funds from the United Kingdom,” the document reads.

But in a statement issued after the return of the funds, the AGF’s office said “the amount has been credited into the designated federal government account with naira equivalent value of the amount as of 10th May, 2021”.

IS PAYING IN NAIRA NOT A BREACH OF THE MOU?

Gwandu, however, recanted his previous statement when TheCable contacted him for an explanation.

“Maybe the statement was a mistake. The money was paid in pounds. It wasn’t paid in naira equivalent. It was paid in Great Britain pounds sterling,” he said.

Efforts to contact Dean Hurlock, head of communications, British high commission, for comments, proved abortive. He also did not respond to messages sent to him.



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