Alliance of NGOs urges UK ministers to return Nigerian assets stolen by James Ibori

28 September, 2023 | 1 minute read

Spotlight on Corruption has joined almost 50 other anti-corruption organisations in writing to Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to urge them to ensure the prompt, transparent and accountable return of more than £100 million in assets stolen by James Ibori, the corrupt former governor of Nigeria’s Delta State.

The letter says:

“In July 2023, the Southwark Crown Court ordered the confiscation of more than £101 million from Ibori and more than £28 million from his former solicitor and co-defendant Bhadresh Gohil. … By prosecuting Ibori and his close associates and pursuing their ill-gotten gains, the UK government sent a strong signal that Britain will not tolerate impunity for corruption or harbour its proceeds.

“But the years of disruption and delay in recovering and returning these stolen assets means this message has so far rung hollow for the Nigerian people. It was more than a decade ago that Ibori and his associates were convicted in the UK of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the Nigerian state and its people. Yet so far, only £4.2 million – less than 3% of the total confiscated from Ibori and his associates – has actually been returned to Nigeria. …

“We therefore urge the UK government to make every effort to ensure the prompt, transparent and accountable return of the remaining Ibori loot to the people of Delta State.”

To read the letter in full and see the full list of almost 50 signatories, click on the link below.

James Ibori as pictured in an image released by the Metropolitan Police
James Ibori

The government has now responded to this letter. You can read the government response here.

Page updated on 24 October 2023 to include a link to the government’s response.

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