The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright has said that the arrest and prosecution of James Ibori in a UK court demonstrates the UK’s zero tolerance approach to corruption.
In an interview with PUNCH, the High Commissioner affirmed that the British economy does not thrive on the proceeds of corruption.
According to Arkwright, “To put it in a more straightforward manner, there is no place for proceeds of corruption in Britain. We have a zero tolerance approach to corruption in any form and tackling corruption remains a high priority for the Prime Minister (David Cameron). The UK government does not aid corruption in Nigeria or elsewhere. The arrest and prosecution of James Ibori in a UK court demonstrates our commitment to this agenda.
“Here in Nigeria we are scaling up our efforts to help address the political and economic incentives for corruption, the Nigerian authorities’ capacity and ability to tackle it, and strengthen how the Nigerian public sector is accountable to Nigerian people. We welcome President Buhari’s commitment to tackling corruption as a priority, including the early reform of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.”
Asked why only $17 million was recovered from James Ibori when it was alleged to have stolen $250 million, he said: “The UK has ensured that assets seized, confiscated or forfeited that fall within Article 57 United Nations Convention Against Corruption 2005 are returned to the country from which they were stolen. We are working with Nigerian authorities to deliver an effective mechanism for the return of stolen funds and assets from Nigeria.”
Speaking further, he clarified that none of the money from Ibori’s confiscation has been returned to Nigeria. “His confiscation hearing is scheduled to take place later in 2016. Assets have been forfeited and confiscated from linked trials and we are, through the Home Office, working on the modality of their return”, he said.