The federal government yesterday urged a Federal High Court sitting Abuja not to grant the request of the Delta State government to release the $15 million (N2.6 billion) allegedly offered the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, by the former Delta State governor, Chief James Ibori, in order not to encourage further fraud.
In the fresh motion argued by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs yesterday, the federal government claimed that the money, if released to Delta State, would be passed to Ibori who is a well known friend of the state governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, in spite of serving jail term in the United Kingdom for fraud.
The federal government said that it had several documentary evidence of fraud being perpetrated in favour of Ibori by the Delta State government even after he had left office.
In the further counter affidavit, the federal government claimed that in 2008, a year after Ibori had left office, Delta State released N50 million to him to build a 4-bedroom duplex in Warri.
The federal government also alleged that another N50 million was released to Ibori in respect of the same purported house project in 2010.
The affidavit claimed that Ibori never utilised the money to build any house and instead fraudulently moved the money abroad where he was arrested and convicted along with his aides for economic crimes.
The federal government insisted that the disputed $15m would be passed to Ibori if any order of forfeiture were granted in favour of the state government.
But the attorney-general of Delta State, Mr. Charles Ajuyah (SAN), contended that the burden was on the federal government to prove beyond doubt that the money would be returned to the convicted ex-governor.
He described the federal government's claim as speculative, noting that the court should not deal with speculation.