Thursday, 17 May 2012

Revisiting James Ibori's case. Such artistic perfection of corruption.

When you touch down at Abu Dhabi, as a well meaning Nigerian, you can't help but rain curses on the corrupt leaders sitting at the helm of affairs. To worsen the issue, Boko Haram's mission seems to be spreading like wildfire. The Niger delta should be one of the most prosperous regions on earth. One that could comfortably beat down a NY city, Geneva or Paris, given the amount of money that flows out from and into that region. It produces billions of pounds worth of oil, yet the poverty level of the masses is one of the worst in any region of Nigeria. While the people live in poverty, the riches are milked out to the elites, who jet in and out of the country like sunrise and sunset. How does one explain the life of a man who used to live modestly in London in the 1990s and a decade later, has assets and accounts containing 'unquantifiable amounts of money". That is the story of James Ibori. A Nollywood classic of rise from grass to grace, Nigerian Version. Lol.
But on a more serious note, what explanation can be given for all those funds if not one word___Looting! We all know how he started as a cashier at the Wickes store a London hardware and DIY store, how he was sacked for allowing his wife take from the store 200 pounds worth of DIY materials (That means the looting started before now sef) without payment and the following year arrested on the count of using a stolen credit card. In 1991, he fled back to Nigeria. He had 2 convictions for dishonesty in the UK, yet somehow, this same man assumed the position of Governor of the oil-rich delta state. What on earth happened to the electoral body? Oops I forgot, prolly the normals took place. Secondary to that, Ibori lied about his age as at the time of his contesting for office. While he claims he is 53 y/o, London officials say he is 4 years younger.
As a governor, his salary was just $25,000 per annum but how Mr Ibori could afford:
  • A house in Hampstead, north London, for £2.2m
  • A property in Shaftesbury, Dorset, for £311,000
  • A £3.2m mansion in Sandton, near Johannesburg, South Africa
  • A fleet of armoured Range Rovers valued at £600,000
  • A £120,000 Bentley
  • A Mercedes Maybach for 407,000 euros that was shipped direct to his mansion in South Africa
  • and was almost buying a private jet worth $20 million.
remains a real mystery. Infact most mysterious. Looted funds in Nigeria, arrested in Dubai, extradited and tried in the UK, Mr Ibori at least did enjoy first class flight services en route to his jail term.

Is his trial and conviction a plus to the UK judiciary system? Well, in some way. But it is the same UK that was home to Ibori's looted funds and assets. His children attend the most expensive private schools, and according to Det. Const. John McDonald, Ibori spent a monthly average of $180,000 consistently. How did a court in Delta state dismiss a 170-count charge on a former governor accused of "massive" corruption. A failure for the Nigerian Judicial system? well, I think so.
Here are some Comments by Erstwhile Nigerian leader of anti-corruption unit, Nuhu RIbadu
1) It was very clear that he was very very rich. He was Buying companies all over, he had a private jet, he had properties in SA, UK, US and so on.
2) In addition to Ibori's trickery, he always knew how to cover his tracks by pouring out large sums of bribe. In Nuhu's words "He offered me $15 million in cash, in bag sacks(I no fit shout)." Really? even the BBC reporter who was interviewing Nuhu was shocked at such an amount and went further to jokingly inquire how big the sacks were. When the reporter asked Ribadu how he managed to scale through such high-profile monetary temptation, He said 'There's no difference between $100, $10 million or $15 million, as long as the proceeds were not genuinely  earned." Well, we know 'Ribaba" has lots of integrity.

And to think the very man who aided and abated him in all this, is supposed to be a custodian of the law, upholding its very principles and ethics.  Ibori's Solicitor Bhadresh Gohilis this man, a top UK lawyer and partner in Arlingtons Sharmas Solicitors based in Mayfair.

The man lived in wealth and opulence, while the people who voted him into office perpetually live in abject poverty. For a man who could  hand out $15 million in cash for a bribe at one go, and to think he almost became the president of the FR of Nigeria, leaves one baffled at the rate of corruption in NG. there are sure more assets than those documented during his trial. But for once, I no fit shout!

Read more here...

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