Nigeria News

Nigeria: Delta opposes FG’s affidavit on Ibori’s $15m bribe

Delta State Government on Thursday opposed the Federal Government’s application seeking an extension of time to file another affidavit in the controversial $15m cash allegedly received as bribe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from former Governor James Ibori.

The state had last December 11, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, asked for time to respond to the Federal Government’s application for extension of time to file the fresh affidavit.

At the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, counsel for the EFCC, which is claiming the cash on behalf of the Federal Government, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), prayed the court presided over by Justice Gabriel Kolawole, to grant the application in line with Order 48, Rule 4 of the FHC.

Jacobs informed the court that the Federal Government was unable to file the application within the stipulated time because of the heavy workload of counsel in the matter.

He further argued that granting the application would promote the principle of fair hearing.

But Delta State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Charles Ajuyah (SAN), opposed the application, saying the applicant’s claim that workload was responsible for its inability to file the application on time was not tenable.

Ajuyah said, “The claim that heavy workload was responsible for the late filing of the application does not explain anything. Whose duty?  Whose workload? To allow such a filing to go on endlessly is against public policy.

“Section 36 of the Constitution does not afford a party an endless right to keep on filing processes.”

However, Kolawole, while adjourning ruling on the application to January 28, frowned on the parties’ wasting of time on interlocutory applications.

The court on July 24, 2012, granted an interim order forfeiting the $15m to the Federal Government.

The money has been with the Central Bank of Nigeria as an unclaimed property since August 2007.

Justifying its move to claim the cash, the Federal Government said, “If left untouched and unspent in the strong room since April 2007, it may eventually be destroyed, defaced, mutilated and become useless.”

Giving the interim order, Kolawole had prayed anyone who was interested in the property to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of forfeiture should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.

Following this, the Delta State Government applied to claim the $15m.

A technician, Mr. Olalekan Bayode, represented by a United Kingdom-based lawyer, Mr. Femi Aina, had attempted to claim the cash, asking the court to deny the Federal and Delta State governments ownership of the money.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.