The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright has disclosed that the UK Government repatriated £70 million recovered from a Nigerian, who was convicted of fraud by an Italian court, to the Nigerian government.
The disclosure came just as the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, is expected to visit Nigeria tomorrow and two other African countries later this week.
Arkwright said: “There was an Italian court case with a particular person involved. A portion of the fund has been in the UK and that was the portion that was returned recently from the UK to Nigeria.’’
Although the envoy did not disclose the identity of the convicted Nigerian, he however assured that more funds would be repatriated as both countries were collaborating to accelerate the legal process of returning the looted money.
He explained further: “The British government has no intention of keeping one kobo of Nigerian funds in the UK. It all must come back to Nigeria. Just as in Nigeria, the UK feels that the judicial process is important, and we have to go through those processes before the money can be returned.”
The British Prime Minister’s visit to Nigeria is part of efforts aimed at boosting post-Brexit trade ties.
According to information provided by Downing Street on the Prime Minister’s visit to the African countries, she is expected to be joined by ministers and 29 business representatives from various industries.
On the importance of the visit, she stated: “As we prepare to leave the European Union, now is the time for the UK to deepen and strengthen its global partnerships. Africa stands right on the cusp of playing a transformative role in the global economy.
“As longstanding partners, this trip is a unique opportunity at a unique time for the UK to set out our ambition to work even closer together”, May added.
The UK leader’s delegation will arrive Cape Town on Tuesday, where she will meet South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and business leaders and young people.
On the opening day of her visit, her office stated that May was expected to set out how Britain can bolster its partnership with Africa, “particularly by bringing the transformative power of private sector trade and investment from the UK.”
On Wednesday, May will meet with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja and later on, visit Lagos.
On Thursday she will meet Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. She will then see British troops in training action and tour a business school, before concluding the trip at a state dinner hosted by the Kenyan leader.
Among those on the UK leader’s entourage are representatives of the London Stock Exchange, the Scotch Whisky Association and manufacturing firm JCB.