The government of Delta State has filed an application before a Federal High Court to claim the N2.25 billion ($15m) allegedly offered as bribe by former Governor James Ibori.
The court had ordered him to forfeit the money to the Federal Government following an exparte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
Ibori allegedly offered the money as bribe to former EFCC Chairman Nuhu Ribadu through an undisclosed source in 2007.
The money has since been kept in the custody of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), after he denied offering money to Ribadu.
In an application filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Delta State Government claimed that the money belongs to it and that the court should order its return to its treasury.
The application was filed by Chief Charles Ajuyah SAN, Delta State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.
In the application dated August 10 and supported by 35-paragraph affidavit, the state averred that the money in dispute was offered by Ibori while he was in office as governor.
The deponent, Nkiru Bridget Emakpor, averred that the money would facilitate the current developmental projects in the state.
She stated that Ibori was a governor of the state between May 29, 1999 and May 29, 2007, the period the money in dispute was alleged offered by Ibori.
On that basis, Delta said the $15M was the exclusive property of the state and is entitled to collect it as the bona fide owner.
It averred that any money, asset or property recovered from Ibori rightly belonged to Delta State and that same should be returned to it as it has always maintained its entitlement to any asset recovered from Ibori.
The deponent said any denial by Ibori in respect of the money cannot affect entitlement of the state to the amount.
The affidavit also indicated that the state did not formally apply for payment of the money in view of the pending appeals to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal because it did not want to prejudice the appeal cases.
The deponent further claimed that all monies, assets and properties recovered from Mr. Joshua Dariye, former Governor of Plateau State, were returned to Plateau State just like those recovered from Chief Diepreye Alamieyesigha of Bayelsa were returned to the state.
It therefore contended that there should be no legal basis to treat the case of Delta State any different from others and that it is in the interest of justice that the money should be released to the state.
The application would be moved before Justice Gabriel Kolawole on September 17.
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