Tag Archives: asset

Breaking: UK wants fresh bid to confiscate ibori’s assets


A British prosecutor launched a fresh attempt on Thursday to confiscate tens of millions of pounds stolen from an oil-producing state in Nigeria by its former governor, who was convicted of laundering his loot in Britain.

James Ibori, who was governor of Delta State from 1999 to 2007, pleaded guilty at London’s Southwark Crown Court in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering. He received a 13-year jail sentence.


The case was a rare example of a prominent Nigerian politician being punished for his part in the endemic corruption that has blighted Africa’s most populous country for decades. Since then, several other Nigerian former state governors have been convicted in their own country.

Having served half of his sentence in pre- and post-trial detention, Ibori was released from jail in December 2016 and is now back in Nigeria.


In 2013, a first attempt was made in Britain to confiscate his assets, but it was aborted after three weeks of hearings because of unresolved legal disputes.

Then the confiscation process was stalled for several years while Ibori and several of his associates, who had been convicted for their roles in laundering his money, appealed unsuccessfully against their convictions.


Restarting the process at Southwark on Thursday, prosecution counsel Jonathan Kinnear began listing assets that Britain seeks to confiscate from Ibori and return to Nigerian public funds.

The total value of the known proceeds of his crimes came to 117 million pounds ($153 million), he said. However, only a portion of that sum is likely to be recoverable.


During his time in office, Ibori, 57, amassed a portfolio of luxury properties in Nigeria, London, Washington, Houston and Johannesburg. He traveled all over the world, staying in the most expensive hotels and spending lavishly in luxury stores.

His lifestyle during those years was a far cry from his modest beginnings in life. As a young man, he had worked as a shop assistant at a branch of the home improvements chain Wickes in London, where he was caught trying to steal from the store and was convicted of theft.

Britain’s National Crime Agency estimates that around 1 billion pounds in dirty money moves into or through the United Kingdom every year. Ibori is one of the only ultimate beneficiaries of such practices to have been convicted.

The case is expected to last around four weeks.


#Newsworthy…

Buhari, Osinbajo, 36 state governors must declare assets publicly – Falana tackles


Nigeria’s rights activist, Femi Falana is backing agitation that President Muhmmadu Buhari, his vice, Yemi Osinbajo and the 36 state governors declare their assets publicly.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), capitalising on the Freedom of Information (FoI), requested Buhari, Osinbajo, 36 state governors and their deputies to publicly declare their assets within seven days or face redress.


The Presidency has claimed that there is no law in Nigeria mandating President Buhari to declare his assets publicly. With due respect, this cannot be the correct position of our law.

According to Falana, in a statement, SERAP’s case for the public announcement of any updates on the assets already declared by Buhari and Osinbajo was correctly based on the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the Freedom of Information Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which had not only been ratified by Nigeria but also domesticated as part of the domestic laws.


“As far as the law is concerned, the word “declaration” means “a formal statement, proclamation, or announcement, especially embodied in an instrument.” See page 467 of Black’s Laws Dictionary (Ninth Edition). The combined effect of the Constitution, FoI Act and the African Charter is that all public officials ought to voluntarily announce publicly their asset declarations even without prompting from civil society groups like SERAP.

“In the alternative, the Code of Conduct Bureau is bound by law to make them available to members of the public, pursuant to section 1 of the FoI Act. In fact, the law contemplated by the Constitution to make asset declarations of public officials public is the FoI Act. With the FoI Act, there is no longer secrecy in government, including in the asset declarations made by all public officials.


“Section 3 (c) of Paragraph A of Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution provides that the Code of Conduct Bureau shall have power to “retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe”. The National Assembly has since 2011 prescribed such terms and conditions in the FoI Act.

“No more excuses by public officials, as the National Assembly has, by passing the FoI Act, prescribed the terms and conditions for pubic officials and the CCB to publicly make asset declarations available. In this instance, SERAP has correctly invoked the provisions of the Constitution, FoI and the African Charter. Similarly, Section 22 of the Constitution has imposed a duty on the mass media to promote public accountability and transparency,” Falana said.


He added that even private citizens could no longer insist on secrecy as they were now required by official policies to register their biometric data for the purpose of acquiring international passports, telephone lines and opening of bank accounts.

Falana stated that the Bank Verification Number commonly called BVN–a biometric identification system implemented by the Buhari administration–has ended secrecy of bank accounts, thereby curbing illegal banking transactions in Nigeria.

“All that SERAP is asking is for the Presidency, governors and their deputies to announce their asset declarations as submitted to the CCB. Such announcement will help to update the records of what the President and Vice President already made public and refresh the memory of the public who are keen to see transparency and accountability in the implementation of the asset declarations frameworks in Nigeria.

“I therefore urge President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo to show strong leadership by immediately acceding to the FoI requests by SERAP and publicly announce any updates on their asset declarations already made public in 2015. This will end the secrecy that continues to surround asset declarations in Nigeria. The secrecy has over the years been used to hide corruptly stolen assets, which has continued to cause untold misery for millions of Nigerians,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

SERAP asks PMB, VP, 36 govs to address their assets within 7 days


President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo have been asked to provide information on the summary of the assets, specifically property and income as contained in their asset declaration forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

In a Freedom of Information requests sent by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to the Presidency, also captured the 36 state governors and their deputies, urging them to use their good offices to clarify within 7 days of receiving the FoI request.


According to a statement by SERAP, the FoI requests dated 3 January 2020 and signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “The Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the FoI Act, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which is part of our laws, read together, impose transparency obligations on all public officials to publicly disclose information concerning their asset declarations submitted to the CCB, and to clarify any updated review of such assets.”

SERAP said: “The summary of assets to be disclosed include, where applicable, the following: savings and other liquid assets, all immovable property and shares and actions in any private and public companies; property purchased by way of tender from any public-law entities and information about businesses owned.”


The organisation said the non-public disclosure by public officials of their summary of assets seriously undermines the effectiveness and integrity of the constitutional and statutory obligations to submit asset declarations.

Specifically FoI request to President Buhari, SERAP noted his “public promise to make specific details of your assets public, and urge you to consider this FoI request as a unique opportunity to fulfill the promise made to the Nigerian people.

President Muhammadu Buhari & Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

“We would also like you to clarify if you have encouraged members of your cabinet to also submit their asset declarations to the CCB and to make such declarations public. If so, we would like you to provide information on the details of those that have made submissions.

“We would also like you to clarify whether a declaration has been submitted as constitutionally and statutorily required, the date of any such submission and if you have received any confirmation of the verification of your asset declaration by the CCB.”


#Newsworthy…