Saturday, 28 February 2015

Ibori’s Conviction Cost FG N4.4bn – Senate


The Chairman, Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics, Financial Crimes and anti-corruption, Senator Victor Lar, said on Friday that a whopping sum of £14m (N4.4bn) was spent to secure the conviction of former Governor James Ibori, in the United Kingdom on April 17, 2012.

Lar, who disclosed this while Federal Government agencies under the supervision of his committee were defending their 2015 budgets in the Senate, however, said the case was at no cost to Nigerian anti-graft agencies.

The senator stressed the need to amend the enabling laws of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and Other Related Offences Commission, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, so that they could be receiving their funds directly.

Lar said, “All the convictions were secured with very limited or no funds. People are quick to celebrate the conviction of James Ibori in the UK. The truth is that to secure Ibori’s conviction, a whopping sum of £14m was expended.

“That is almost N4.4bn which is more than 10 years recurrent and capital budgets of all the anti-corruption agencies put together.”

Lar added that other countries were able to prosecute financial crimes successfully because a percentage of funds recovered from the proceeds of crime was usually retained by the recovering agency for funding its activities.

He noted that most Nigerians are impatient and believed that politicians are corrupt and should be convicted.

He said, “Once you are arrested and taken to court, it is outside the control of the enforcement agencies. So it is not entirely the fault of the enforcement agencies that there is corruption in the country.

“This administration has fought corruption more than at any other time because we have more petitions, more people are taken to court and we have more convictions now than ever before.”

In 2012, for instance, Lar said the EFCC secured about 87 convictions, 116 in 2013 and 136 in 2014.

Heads of the anti-corruption agencies, while making the presentations, lamented the poor funding of the agencies and urged the National Assembly to expedite actions on its move to amend the enabling laws that established them in order to get more funds.

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