Eight years after the former governor Lucky Igbinedion was convicted of money laundering and ordered to return N500 million and three houses to the Federal Government, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is yet to remit the money and property to Edo State.
As governor, Mr. Igbinedion plundered the resources of Edo State into billions of naira; but in 2008 he escaped jail after he reached a controversial plea bargain agreement with the Farida Waziri-led EFCC, leading to his being handed a sentence considered a slap on the wrist based on the enormity of his offence.
A Federal High Court in Enugu sentence him to six months in prison with the option of a N3.5 million fine. As part of his plea bargain,, he was also required to return N500 million and three houses he acquired with stolen public funds.
Now the government of Edo State has asked the EFCC to remit the money and property originally stolen from the people of Edo State.
In a letter to the Chairman of the EFCC by its solicitors, Falana and Falana’s Chamber, the Edo State government is asking the anti-graft commission to transfer the recovered property and money back to it immediately.
The letter dated November 7 and signed by Stanley Imhanruor, a lawyer with the Falana and Falana’s Chambers reads:
“Sometimes in 2008, the former Governor of Edo State, Lucky NOSAKHARE Igbinedion, was arraigned alongside his company, Kiva Corporation Limited (accused in person in the above mentioned charged) on sundry allegation of defrauding Edo State Government. The charges were however subsequently amended pursuit of a plea bargain agreement at the instance of two defendants and the latter pleaded guilty and were accordingly convicted.
“Following the conviction of the defendants they were ordered to pay the sum of N500,000 (five hundred million naira only) to the Federal Government.
a. Landed property measuring 4,823 square metres at Asokoro, Abuja acquired on 13/1/06 with file no: ED21620
b. Detached property on two (2) plots of land comprising four bedrooms and Boy’s quarter situated at No 57 Ihama Road, GRA, Benin City, Edo State.
c. A storey building and bungalow on a large expands of land situated at No 24 Izekor Street off Chris Mary Street, Benin City, Edo State.”
“While thanking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for a successful prosecution of the defendants, it will be appreciated if the same sum of N500,000.00 (Five Hundred Million naira) and three properties which have been recovered on the order of the Federal High Court are transferred to Edo State Government forthwith.”