The Forum for Justice and Human Rights Defence and the Niger Delta Youth Movement have disagreed on a suit allegedly filed by the Delta State Government seeking a refund of a $15m bribe purportedly offered by ex-Governor James Ibori.
Former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Chairman, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, had accused Ibori of giving him the $15m bribe to drop the case of financial impropriety levelled against him by the commission.
The National Coordinator of the FJHD, Oghenejabor Ikimi, stated in Warri on Tuesday that the suit filed by the Delta State Government at a Federal High Court in Abuja through a private lawyer seeking the return of the funds to Delta State was “comical”.
He said, “We describe the U-turn by the Delta State Government on the issue as both comical and an open admission and a confirmation that Chief James Ibori gave the money in question as a bribe.
“We are not oblivious of the fact that when in 2009 the EFCC arraigned Chief James Ibori on a 74 counts, Ibori filed a counter affidavit through his lawyers to the effect that he never sent any official of the Delta State Government to deliver the said money to Ribadu.
“As a matter of fact the Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan-led Government even organised a thanksgiving party for Chief Ibori when Justice Awokulehin discharged him of all the 74 counts including the count alleging the of $15m.”
The group suggested that the money should be kept in an interest yielding account or an escrow account till 2016 when a new Governor would be sworn-in in Delta State.
But the National President, NDYM, Godspower Odenema, condemned the move by the Federal Government to withhold the $15m bribe.
The group urged the EFCC to be transparent and arrest the undisclosed person who allegedly offered the said $15M bribe to the commission .
It asked the Federal Government to immediately pay the said $15M to Delta State coffers without further delay.
“We urge President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently direct the Attorney General of the Federation to file a Nolle Prosequi regarding the $15M bribe and handover the money to the Delta State Government coffers,” the NDYM said.