James Ibori, former governor of Delta state, Nigeria, has pled guilty to fraud totalling about £50 million. He pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money, five counts of money laundering and one count of obtaining a property transfer by deception over the theft of more than £25 million while he was governor of Delta state.
He also pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to make false instruments, and one count of money laundering linked to a 37 million US dollar share fraud surrounding the sale of shares in V Mobile, a Nigerian GSM company.
Speaking at the Southwark Crown Court, the prosecutor told the court that James Ibori had tried to conceal earlier convictions which would have prevented him contesting in elections in Nigeria, and maintained that Ibori is 49, but according to the date of birth he used in Nigeria he would be 53. The prosecutor said, "Mr Ibori tricked his way into public office. He had tricked the Nigerian authorities and the Nigerian voters. He was thus never the legitimate governor of Delta state."
James Ibori and his wife had been charged in 1990 with stealing goods from a DIY hardware store where Ibori worked as cashier; he was fined 300 pounds. In 1991, he was also convicted of handling a stolen credit card and fined 100 pounds.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Proceeds of Corruption Unit said Ibori’s guilty pleas end a case which had involved units from the UK and Nigeria and "The scale can only be described as huge. Vast sums of money which were used to fund his lavish lifestyle.
"The real harm in this case is the potential loss to people in some of the poorest regions in the world. We will now be actively seeking the confiscation of all of his stolen assets so they can be repatriated for the benefit of the people of Delta state,”
“It is always rewarding for anyone working on a proceeds of corruption case to know that the stolen funds they identify will eventually be returned to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.”
A statement by the Metropolitan Police said Ibori used the money to buy houses in London and Johannesburg, South Africa, a fleet of armoured Land Rovers, and a $20 million private jet.
Ibori is to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on April 16. His wife Theresa Ibori, his sister Christine Ibori-Idie, his mistress Udoamaka Okoronkwo and his lawyer Bhadresh Gohil have all been previously convicted and are all serving jail time for money-laundering.
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eni chicago, usa March 01, 2012
This conviction of such a man that was so close to the corridor of power in the country is ,or should be a perfect case study for those who are interested in doing something about the corruption system in Nigeria. Ibori was like an infected cell that managed to penetrate the fabric of an aggressive political party ( PDP ) to infect and thereby corrupt the system,including the governor's office,the judiciary and even up to the presidency, Ibori had his tentacles everywhere. Indeed, divine intervention saved Nigeria from such a clever maniplator. Come to think of it,one cannot help but to ponder it :
What ever happens to the term "guilty by association"? Many prominent people would go the same way as Ibori and Nigeria would be better off. But,how unfortunate that most people in Nigeria know no shame. As a result the most celebrated celebrities in our society are the most serial criminals in our midst. The judge or judges that handled the trials of Ibori's criminal cases in Nigeria should have no more peaceful night sleep after hearing about this guilty conviction coming from London. They too are all guilty of corruption against the state.
Ezekafor chidozie Abuja, Nigeria February 28, 2012
If this man can be used as an example, i belive others will lain lessons. Please the people in authority should help us dump that theif in a prison.
Samson choji gyangson Jos, Nigeria February 28, 2012
This is wickedness. How can a person whom his citizens entrusted but latter, betray such a trust and stole what was meant for the development of the state but tried to inherit it alone? He shouldn't be released rather, be jailed life in prison. Because he have destroyed many lives by looting such huge amount of money. 'Shege baban barawo, mazam-baci.'
T Adam London, UK February 27, 2012
This common thief is also bloody coward afterall. After quashing 140 charges elsewhere you won't expect an ogidigborigbo of Africa to pronounce self guilty to a mere 10 but to die insisting on his inocence; but here is not Nigeria and judjes here are not for sale or, what is his game plan?
So the confiscated loot will be returned to the people of Delta State whose custodian of the coffers is Uduaghan? Is he hoping for a reduction in sentence and a 'quick' return to the round-tripped loot ensured by his also thieving cousin?