Ibori’s UAE Assets Among Criminal Proceeds Buhari Wants to Recover
The recent agreement signed by President Muhammadu Buhari with the United Arab Emirates, UAE, may be Delta State gain. A top government official within Buhari’s government confided in XCLUSIVE MAGAZINE that indications are that the assets of former Delta State governor James Onanefe Ibori stacked away in Dubai are among the many criminal proceeds from Nigeria that President Buhari intends to trace and recover now that there is a legal basis to ask for the return of such stolen assets. Chief Ibori was governor of Delta State between May 1999 and May 2007.
In a meeting with the head of UAE government, His Highness Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayad Al-Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander-in-Ch￼ief of the UAE armed forces, the world’s second largest Arab economy, signed an agreement with Nigeria, among other three agreements, “to improve the effectiveness of both countries in the investigation and prosecution of crime, and the confiscation of criminal proceeds.”
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President, SSAP (Media and Publicity), explains in a press statement: “Under this agreement, proceeds of crime were defined to include ‘any assets derived or realized, directly and indirectly, by any person as a result of criminal conduct or the value of any asset. ‘Asset’ itself defined as ‘money and all kinds of moveable or immovable or tangible or intangible property, and include any interest on such property.'”
Ibori, who is serving 13 years in jail in the United Kingdom for fraud totalling nearly £50m ($77m), was arrested in May 2010 by Interpol agents at the instance of the London Metropolitan police in his posh apartment in Dubai and extradited to London. His stolen assets in real estate and shares hidden in UAE run into billions of Naira. During his trial in the UK, one of the counts Ibori admitted, reported the BBC, “related to a $37m fraud pertaining to the sale of Delta State’s share in Nigerian privatised phone company company V Mobile.”
Although Ibori’s assets are at the front-burner of the stolen assets Pres. Buhari wants to trace and recover because of their sheer volume, XCLUSIVE MAGAZINE understands that there are other 23 Deltans said to own choice properties in Dubai and Abu Dhabi bought with billions of naira stolen from Delta State, among them are former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Hon. Michael Diden (aka Ejele, current member of Delta State House of Assembly) and Tuoyo Omatseyi, former Executive Director of NDDC.
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