Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday, October 25, 2013, awarded the Federal government, ownership of the $15million Ibori Bribe which is the subject of legal tussle between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Delta State Government.
The EFCC had in July 2012, approached the court, requesting for a final order forfeiting the $15 million Ibori bribe which had been lying in the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria for more than five years to the Federal Government as unclaimed proceed of crime. But the Delta state government challenged the application as the state government laid claim to the said amount.
Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs had told the court that it was too late for the Delta State government to lay claim to the money because of the actions which the state government instituted against the EFCC on the ground that the governor should not be investigated.
Justice Kolawole while delivering his judgement said “with utmost sense of responsibility as a judicial officer, to view the stiff resistance mounted by the Delta state government and its official as one which border on the state’s acquiesce in the looting of its own fund or at best, as that of collaborators with its erstwhile governor on issue of $15 million allegedly offered to former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu as bribe”.
Justice Kolawole said that in the final analysis, “the applicant’s application to make a final forfeiture order succeeds and the said sum of $15 million dollars is hereby forfeited to the first applicant that is the federal government who shall take steps to capture in its earnings of the Federal Government of Nigeria in its 2012/2013 fiscal year and shall administer ther funds to address specific needs that will be beneficial to a greater number of the citizenry”.
He also ordered that the sum be immediately paid to the coffers or account of the appropriate authority of the Federal Government of Nigeria where earnings such as this are kept in the ordinary course of official business”.
The said amount was bribe money given to the former chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, by former governor of Delta state, James Ibori to make the EFCC steer clear of investigating him for fraud.
Media and Publicity (EFCC)