Posted by Reuters on
Nigeria will return the impeached governor of oil-producing Bayelsa state to Britain, where he jumped bail to escape a money-laundering trial, President Olusegun Obasanjo said on Saturday.
ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria will return the impeached governor of oil-producing Bayelsa state to Britain, where he jumped bail to escape a money-laundering trial, President Olusegun Obasanjo said on Saturday.
A court in London has charged Diepreye Alamieyeseigha with laundering 1.8 million pounds.
Alamieyeseigha fled Britain last month and returned to Nigeria, where as governor he enjoyed immunity from prosecution. But on Friday the Bayelsa state assembly stripped him of his immunity by impeaching him, and he was immediately arrested.
"As a member of Interpol ... Nigeria will take the appropriate action as required by the British authorities on this matter," Obasanjo said at the national convention of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the capital Abuja.
Nigeria and Britain do not have a bilateral extradition treaty. The High Commissioner in Nigeria, Richard Gozney, said British authorities were working closely with the Nigerian attorney general and the foreign ministry to look into how Alamieyeseigha could be brought back to Britain.
"That's where he should be," Gozney told Reuters.
The Metropolitan Police found a million pounds in cash at Alamieyeseigha's London home in September. The governor, who denies any wrongdoing, said the money was not his.
Nigeria's anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said Alamieyeseigha fled Britain by dressing up as a woman.
The EFCC also accuses him of embezzling public funds, corruptly enriching his family, and other financial improprieties.
Alamieyeseigha's impeachment and arrest are a boost to Obasanjo's war on corruption, which has targeted some state governors but been frustrated by their immunity.
"It is my sincere hope that other states that have fallen into or may fall into the same situation will take a wise cue from Bayelsa," Obasanjo said in a veiled reference to the governor of Plateau state, who is also wanted in Britain.
Governor Joshua Dariye last year fled London, where he was under investigation for money-laundering. The EFCC's efforts to prosecute him in Nigeria have been blocked because of his immunity.
(Additional reporting by Estelle Shirbon)
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