Flashback: TheNEWS Provides Details of Ibori’s Corruption, Trials
Flashback: TheNEWS Provides Details of Ibori’s Corruption, Trials
Monday, March 15, 2021 4:03 pm
TheNEWS’ Cover on James Ibori
Right now, the Federal Government and the Delta State Government are at daggers drawn over where the Ibori loot from London should go. While the former said the £4.2m (ova 2 billion Naira) would be spent on Federal projects like the Lagos Ibadan Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge, Delta has sworn that the money belongs to it.
However, below are the details of the corruption trial of Ibori in Nigeria (where he was acquitted) and Britain where he was jailed. Published in 2012, it was entitled:
That it takes a London court to jail James Ibori, former Delta State governor, whose case was bungled in his own country, puts the all-pervasivesness of corruption in Nigeria in bold relief
By Ademola Adegbamigbe
Asaba, the Delta State capital, has lately become the choice location for movie producers and artistes. But most of the movies that have been shot in the developing city have revolved round culture, tradition and love themes. None has really been on comedy. Now, if the producers and script writers are looking for comedy that would easily be a box office hit, they need look no further. Right in Asaba, a drama at the Federal High Court on 17 December 2009 lends itself as the natural pick for the ‘Comedy of the Century’ movie.
The drama starred Justice Marcel Awokulehin and James Onanefe Ibori, two-term governor of Delta State, as the protagonists, with the former playing the lead role. Awokulehin had acquitted Ibori of all the 170-count charge of corruption levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, despite, as was eventually proven last week, the weight of compelling evidence against the former governor. Only what happened that day at the High Court was not a piece of acting striving for verisimilitude. It was reality itself. Awokulehin was playing, live, the clown judge.
Ibori, whose cognomen, Ogidigboigboi, has a rhyming pattern with valour, invincibility, might and untouchability, came to the court with a swagger. As his lick-spittle supporters chanted his panegyrics, Ibori carried his nose in the air like a supercilious camel. When he came out of court, after Awokulehin had given him a clean bill of health, Ibori was received by a jubilant crowd, the way Julius Caeser was welcomed into Rome after he defeated Pompei.
Opening pages of the story
Nearly three years later, on Tuesday 17 April 2012, a savage twist to the Ibori mystique emerged. Many kilometres away, in London, Justice Anthony Pitts of the Southwark Crown Court in London sentenced Ibori to 13 years imprisonment for corruption, using virtually the same charges that Awokulehin dismissed. That it took a foreign court to demystify Ibori – who hitherto was thought invincible since the Nigerian court portrayed him as a pious person ready for beatificaton – is a symbol of how rotten the country has become. In the early 1970s, it used to be a cliche that corruption had “become a cankerworm that had eaten deep into the fabric of our national life.’’ But now, analysts trenchantly argue that there is no more “fabric” for corruption to devour! The entire Nigerian system has become a skeleton.
Delivering his judgment, Pitts said: “The history of dishonesty, corruption and theft in the first indictment would alone attract the maximum or close to the maximum sentence allowed by law, but there is another indictment of serious fraud which you have pleaded guilty to.” He added that if Ibori had fought the case to the end without pleading guilty, he would be looking at 24 years, “but [he] will get a discount for pleading guilty.” The judge slammed a 13-year sentence on the former Delta governor but, deducting the 645 days he had already spent behind bars, he said Ibori would serve the rest in British jail. In other words, the former governor will stay only four years in the slammer.
Before Pitts gave the verdict on Ibori, the prosecution revealed to the court and the world the tricks the former Delta State governor adopted to milk his state to the bone. As Sasha Wass, the lead prosecutor, said, Ibori “lived and behaved like a millionaire”. She added that here was a man who could not afford his monthly mortgage payments but “went on to live the lifestyle of a property tycoon, living like royalty”. Sasha referred to when Ibori pleaded guilty, on 12 February 2012, to many counts of money laundering and fraud, and reasoned that his attitude established that the allegations against him were correct. Wass told the court further that Ibori did not just realise that he had to steal when he became governor, he had a blueprint already in his skull before he assumed control of the government of Delta.
Ibori’s supporters in court
First, he had acquired a new passport, carrying a different birth date so as to obliterate his dubious past. Indeed, Ibori, before becoming governor, had been convicted twice for sleaze in Britain. On 25 January 1991, he was sentenced alongside his wife, Theresa (nee Nakanda), by the Crown Court at Isleworth. And on 7 February 1992, he was found guilty on one count of handling stolen goods. In 1994, authorities in the United States of America investigated the former governor over a huge dollar lodgement in a bank there, for which he later forfeited $400,000 out of the amount to the US government.
Wass maintained that Ibori, thereafter, purchased a house, “the first in a property portfolio that by the time he stepped down as governor, was valued at nearly £7mn.” The prosecutor told the court further that the portfolio consisted of three houses in the UK: two in London and one in Dorset, close to the rich private institution where his three children were schooling.
What is more, Ibori, as the prosecutor revealed, acquired properties in South Africa and Houston, Texas. She presented to the judge a photograph from an estate agent’s brochure of the South African real estate which Ibori bought for £3mn.
Wass was, that day, in her elements, reeling out figures indicating how Ibori was spending money like a drunken sailor. For example, by 2007, the former governor had spent £170,000 on motorcars, school fees of £143,000, and £920,000 on an American Express “Centurion” card. That type of credit card is the exclusive preserve of the high and the mighty who have much to spend. Ibori, according to the prosecutor, purchased a £120,000 Mercedes Maybach, “the German equivalent of a Rolls Royce” for his South African mansion. Ibori was in the process of buying a £20mn Challenger jet while being investigated by the UK police, said Wass.
Ibori was not alone in the stealing ring. His family members, acquaintances and female lovers helped him to steal from the government till. These proxies used their own bank accounts to help Ibori to divert money from government accounts to purchase real estates in the UK, South Africa and the U.S. Not only that, Ibori, as the prosecutor revealed, was in the habit of using different lawyers to acquire many mansions, so much so that it would be difficult to trace his money laundering activities.
Wass was not done yet. She told the court further how Victor Attah, former governor of Akwa Ibom State, was a go-between for Ibori and Badrash Gohil, a lawyer who “specialised in money laundering”. She added that Gohil assisted Ibori to “set up Swiss bank accounts and trusts in the tax havens of the Seychelles, as well as the Channel Islands in order to hide his thieving”.
Some of the deposits were €20mn in a trust fund called Zircon in the Channel island of Guernsey, and £1mn in another trust called Onyx. Worse still, Ibori had six accounts with Barclays Bank in London, with more than £1mn in total. He had another account in Colorado in the U.S. To further cover his tracks, Ibori was in the habit of opening different accounts in the names of Gohil’s clients.
Wass told the court that Gohil’s office was once searched by the British Police and what they found were shocking. There was a hidden device behind Gohil’s fireplace that held two external hard drives and information that was, as Wass put it, “very incriminating”. Last year, this and more earned Gohil 10 years in a British gaol! In fact, he was tried and jailed for his complicity in what the police dubbed “the V-Mobile fraud”.
When Ibori’s supporters and rented crowd came to court, trying to replay the Asaba High Court scene, the British Police deployed three vans, five cars and a helicopter to check them. “We were there to provide assistance because it was over-subscribed – there were just too many people to get in,” a police spokeswoman told AFP, adding that order had been quickly restored. Ibori had no opportunity to wave triumphantly at the crowd because he was brought to court in a white prison van with tinted glass. Scotland Yard revealed that during his eight years as governor, Ibori “systematically stole funds from the public purse, secreting them in bank accounts across the world”, in a fraud worth $250mn.
Ibori’s lawyer, Nicholas Pernell, however, rose to his defence. The lawyer fingered Gohil and Attah, for the V-Mobile fraud, arguing that it was their handiwork. Pernell went on to outline the achievements of the former governor in the areas of banking reform, peace in the Niger Delta, education and building of low-cost housing. The lawyer added that even before Ibori became governor, he had thrown his weight behind the British industry, especially in the restoration of direct flights between Nigeria and Britain. Pernell tendered a British Airways letter to prove his point. He pleaded that the judge should consider the pressure under which Ibori had been surviving since his travails began in 2005, and his children whose parents are both in custody.
John Fashanu, a retired Nigerian footballer who had once played the game as a professional with Wimbledon FC in Britain, also showed up in court, testifying about Ibori’s achievements in sports. Ibori, he claimed, built nine mini-sports stadia, three Olympic-size stadia and the first shooting range in Nigeria; and how he played a part in bringing an end to militancy in the Niger Delta.
Ibori had earlier pleaded guilty to about $250mn-worth of money laundering charges, the $50mn V-Mobile and Bombardier scams and admitted that he and Victor Attah floated a fake company known as ADF to siphon $37.5mn from Delta and Akwa Ibom states’ shares in V-Mobile.
The pleadings and Ibori’s admission of guilt notwithstanding, Judge Pitts said that he recognised that there was another side to the accused, but argued that he was not the proper person to judge Ibori’s achievements and failings as a governor. “That is up to the people of Delta State,” he said
He gave his verdict, adding that the sentencing would not be the end of the matter as Ibori’s properties would also be seized.
Ibori’s Journey To Prison
Ibori was first picked up by the EFCC in December 2007 and docked before Awokulehin at a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba. The same year, a British court froze Ibori’s assets worth $35mn (£21million). The British authorities further declared him wanted over money laundering.
Two years later, Awokulehin said Ibori was clean because of lack of evidence. But the EFCC insisted that Ibori had a case to answer, alleging that he made away with $292mn (about N44bn) from government’s coffers.
Like a phoenix, the matter was revived from its almost forgotten ashes when a Delta State leaders, elders and a stakeholders’ forum wrote a petition to the EFCC against Ibori over corruption. For this reason, the anti-corruption agency declared him wanted. And pronto!, the former governor, like a black pimpernel, went into hiding, scampering from mangrove swamps to different obscure creeks. In fact, Ibori’s supporters attacked some cops drafted to Oghara, his home town, to pick him up.
Ibori eluded the hand of the law and, on 30 April 2010, scurried out of the country to Dubai. But on 12 May 2010, officials of the International Police, Interpol, nabbed him in his hotel room in that city. On 17 October 2010, a United Arab Emirates Court of Appeal, sitting in Dubai, gave a verdict that he be extradited to the UK to face charges of corruption and money laundering.
The trajectory of the Ibori trial has lent itself as a record in criminal prosecution. Before Ibori’s conviction last week, his wife, mistress, sister, and lawyer had been jailed for their roles in the ring of felony, atop which Ibori sat as the felon-in-chief. Ibori’s conviction draws part of its strength from the various grounds on which his family members and solicitor are already serving different prison terms.
They were only forerunners in Ibori’s march to prison. On 7 June 2010, his sister, Christine Ibie-Ibori and Udoamaka Okoronkwo-Onuigbo, his associate, were jailed five years (concurrently) in London for their complicity in the former governor’s corruption ring. That was after a jury in the Southwark Crown Court found them guilty of money laundering and mortgage fraud. For example, they found his sister guilty on a nine-count charge of money laundering and mortgage fraud estimated at $101.5mn. Also, Okoronkwo-Onuigbo was jailed by Justice Christopher Hardy for money laundering. Bimpe Pogoson, Ibori’s personal assistant, was, however, set free.
The former governor’s wife, Theresa Nkoyo Ibori, was another of his precursors to prison. She was, on 22 November 2010, sent to prison for five years by the Southwark Crown Court, London for assisting her husband to loot Delta State’s treasury.
In fact, less than two years into her husband’s governorship, Theresa, according to Wass, the lead prosecutor, paid £2.2mn in cash for a property in Hampstead. These came to a dramatic denouement on Tuesday 17 April 2012 when Ibori was finally jailed in London.
Ibori: Nigeria’s Symbol of Corruption
There was a 2002 Corruption Survey Study/Report by the Institute for Development Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria which listed the following institutions as most notorious for corruption in Nigeria: the Judiciary, Police, Political Parties, National and State Assemblies, Local and Municipal Governments, Federal and State Executive Councils, Traffic Police, the Federal Road Safety Commission, the Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria and others.
In Nigeria, Ibori is one of those that have made mincemeat of the judicial system. Here is how. There was a judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria saying that one James Onanefe Ibori was, in September 1995, convicted and sentenced by the Upper Area Court, Bwari, FCT, “for negligent conduct and criminal breach of trust in case No. Cr-81-1995”. To determine whether the convicted Ibori was the former governor of Delta State, the apex court, in February 2004, ordered a retrial by a High Court. However, on 8 November 2005, Justice Hussein Muktar, ruled in favour of the former governor.
The other example was how Awokulehin declared Ibori (after the EFCC charges), as a saint fit for membership of the College of Cardinals at the Vatican! To further make a mess of the judiciary, the immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation, Mike Aondoakaa, wrote to the British government that Ibori was not under investigation in Nigeria.
Ibori’s matter was just one of the surfeit of illustrations to prove the rot in the judiciary. There were allegations that many judges collected bribes from lawyers. There was the Justice Thomas Naron saga in the Osun State governorship tribunal case – a story published by TheNEWS – when he made direct phone communications with a defence lawyer.
Matters came to a head one day in 2005 when Ephraim Duru, counsel to Globe Motors, accused a former Chief Justice of the Federation, Mohammed Uwais, of corruption. Duru added that Uwais, therefore, was not fit for the five-member panel constituted to hear their case. However, Uwais asked the lawyer to report him to the EFCC if he was sure of his facts.
For this reason, Anthony Aniagolu, a retired Supreme Court justice, now deceased, told this magazine that it was the first time in the history of the nation’s judiciary that a lawyer, standing within the four walls of a court, would accuse the CJN of corruption. Aniagolu wanted this affront to the judiciary investigated, but nothing came out of it.
That the police are corrupt is no news. The only thing that could shock people is when there is a honest cop. The new acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, admitted this when he addressed Deputy Commissioners of Police, DCPs, in charge of zonal formations and state commands at Louis Edet House, Abuja, Headquarters of the Police: “Under your nose, our officers are collecting money for posting…Look at how our policemen have turned to begging on our roads. The only thing (left) is for them to use calabash to beg for money. This can no longer be tolerated. We have set up a committee to monitor that, but any command found to still indulge in this, because you know it is happening, will be restructured – from the CP, DCP and down the line.”
In the education sector, corruption also runs deep. Students pay invigilators to pass examinations, lecturers are paid by rich students to write dissertations and, in recent times, allegations of corrution have been rocking the National Examinations Council, a development that sparked protest when President Goodluck Jonathan allowed the registrar, Professor Promise Nwachukwu Okpalla, to go for a second term.
Whatever the police or other agencies of government do pale into insignificance, compared to the corruption going on at the level of government or politics, a situation which Professor Richard Joseph, a political scientist, who has done extensive work on Nigeria, called prebendalism. And it is not a recent phenomenon.
Analysts attribute the rise of public administration and the discovery of oil and natural gas as two major factors that worsened corruption in Nigeria. With petrodollars flowing into government coffers, controlled by the political elite, it created a paradox of general poverty in the midst of plenty. It was this situation that made the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, to say: “Since independence, our governments have been a matter of a few holding the cow for the strongest and most cunning to milk.”
Many commentators trace the vice to the colonial period when the imperial agents drove in flashy cars and lived in big mansions at Government Reservation Areas, thus creating in the psyche of the subjects, a notion of “us against the oppressors who have appropriated our property”. Joseph argued that vandalism and looting of public property was not seen as a crime against society. “This view is what has degenerated into the more recent disregard for public property and lack of public trust and concern for public good as a collective national property,” he wrote.
Other writers also posit that greed and the culture of ostentation – which requires sleaze to feed it endlessly – are the roots of corruption.
Corruption Down Different Political Epochs
Gowon, Murtala and Shagari
First Republic. In the period, corruption cases were few and far between and they were, as another writer put it, “clouded by political in-fighting”.
In 1944, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was investigated over some deals at the African Continental Bank. In the Western Region, Adegoke Adelabu was probed for political corruption and the Coker Commission of Inquiry investigated how the Action Group was being funded. And in the North, allegations of corruption against some Native Authority officials led the Northern Region Government to enact some customary laws to fight the scourge.
During the regime of General Yakubu Gowon, critics called his governors greedy upstarts who helped themselves to the government kitty while the head of state was too timid to control them. It was also a period when some super permanent secretaries held him hostage.
During the 1975 cement armada, a corruption scandal surrounding the importation of the commodity involved many officials of the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria. According to a report: “Officials were later accused of falsifying ships manifest and inflating the amount of cement to be purchased.” It was also a period when corruption allegations against Joseph Gomwalk, then governor of Plateau State and Joseph Tarka, then Federal Commissioner for Communication, were given high publicity by the Daily Times and the New Nigerian.
Murtala Muhammed: Cleaning the Augean’s Stable
When General Murtala Muhammed took over power from Gowon, he decided to clean the system of rot. One day, Sule Katagun, one of the super permanent secretaries, brought a list of civil servants to be sacked to Muhammed, who asked him to compile it. As Katagun made to leave, Mohammed called him back, saying, “You have to include your own name.” Katagun was petrified.
That was the level of seriousness that Muhammed, who himself surrendered some of his own illegally acquired properties to the government, put into his anti-corruption drive. That time the federal government seized some assets. They included those belonging to Audu Bako, a former governor of Kano State, Tanko Yakassai and others. However, that many civil servants were given the boot by that regime, as some analysts argued, further created a sense of insecurity in public officials who, in order to prepare for the unexpected, indulged in corruption. And, as is argued, the corruption culture has been growing since then. Unfortunately, the Muhammed regime was snuffed out after just six moths.
The Shehu Shagari Administration
Corruption walked on two legs and wore political gowns during that era. In 1985, a probe into the collapse of Johnson Mathey Bank of London revealed some sleaze concerning Nigerian politicians. It was an avenue through which politicians of that period siphoned money into their private accounts. Some Asian importers tried to transfer money out, using import licences. In 1981, the rice armada created some overnight millionaires, especially among politicians of the ruling National Party of Nigeria.
The Buhari Regime
General Muhammadu Buhari, in 1985, tried to clean the system the way Muhammed did. But the accusation against that government was that those who were jailed came preponderantly from a section of the country or some particular political parties.
However, Buhari was demystified when, because of his honest persona, he was appointed to chair the Petroleum Trust Fund by the Sani Abacha regime. But Buhari allowed his brother-in-law, Sali Hidjo, to run haywire in terms of corruption, a state of affairs that made Usman Jubrin, one of the trustees to resign in anger.
And when Buhari contested for the presidency on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, he allegedly surrounded himself with questionable characters. According to Abdulkareem Dayabu, National President, Movement for Justice in Nigeria: “Actually, there is nothing wrong with Buhari, but there is everything wrong with his surroundings. It is unfortunate that Buhari is surrounded by only unscrupulous people. Some of them are people he detained in Kirikiri when he was military head of state because they had looted their state treasuries…They have pinned him down like a prisoner.” Some of the characters were Buba Galadima, Dan Marke, formerly of the Nigeria Railway Corporation and Mohammed Abacha, the late General Sani Abacha’s son, who made money through his father’s corruption. When Abacha won the CPC governorship primary in Kano, Buhari, because of the criticism that this could attract, imposed Ja’faru Isa, a former governor of Kaduna, over Abacha as Kano State’s governorship candidate for the CPC.
General Ibrahim Babangida’s regime, which took power in 1985, was notorious for the institutionalisation of corruption. It was a period characterised by what the late Chief Bola Ige called the “settlement syndrome”. Apart from the $12.4bn oil windfall which his regime could not account for, he undid all that Mohammed achieved. He returned seized properties to their illegitimate owners. Another blot on his administration was how he dishonestly dribbled the nation and annulled the best election in the history of Nigeria.
General Sani Abacha was another corrupt leader who took kleptomania to a great height. After his death, his accounts, containing over $10bn, were frozen.
Analysts posit that under former President Obasanjo, electoral fraud was taken to the level of rocket science. Governors under him, including Ibori, also turned sleaze into an art. This notwithstanding, an anti-corruption drive marshalled by the EFCC and headed by Nuhu Ribadu, became effervescent, notwithstanding the alleged politicisation of the process. After Obasanjo left, his successor, Yar’Adua, an invalid, was held hostage by Turai, his wife, and members of a political cabal that allegedly diverted public funds to their own use. With Jonathan, the National Assembly has become a cesspit of corruption, fuel subsidy scam became an embarrassment within and outside the country. In fact, the House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee chaired by Farouk Lawan that investigated the scam in the sector, discovered ghost marketers that imported fuel; 128 others were paid subsidy and the then Accountant-General of the Federation paid N999mn 128 times in 24 hours, totalling N127.9bn, in January 2009.
Therefore, the committee, last week, ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Authority, PPPRA, and the marketers involved to refund N1.1 trillion to the coffers of government within three months. Worse still, criminal cases are being withdrawn daily from the courts by the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Why Corrution Is Difficult To Tackle In Nigeria
Buhari, Babangida and Yar’Adua
According to Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perception Index, CPI, Botswana, Bhutan, Cape Verde and Rwanda all appear among the 50 “cleanest” countries, but Nigeria does not. The Index, which is closely watched by investors, economists, and civil society campaigners, is, according to Transparency International, TI’s chair, Huguette Labelle, based on expert assessments and data from 17 surveys from 13 independent institutions, covering issues such as access to information, bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement and the enforcement of anti-corruption laws.
In Nigeria, however, there has been a problem at the level of rule of law or enforcement. There is no seriousness on the part of government. Analysts bemoan a situation whereby those who steal goats are sent to jail while those who made away with billions of naira walk away free. Section 9 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act No 7 of 2003 states that every financial institution “shall develop programmes to combat the laundering of the proceeds of a crime or other illega1 act…”
Section 10 also indicates that notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other law or enactment, “a financial institution or Casino shall report to the Agency in writing within seven days, any single transaction, lodgment or transfer of funds in excess of (a) N1,000,000 or its equivalent, in the case of an individual; and (b) N5 million or its equivalent, in the case of a body corporate.” But it says that a person, other than a financial institution, “may voluntarily give information on any transaction, lodgment or transfer of funds in excess of (a) 100,000 or its equivalent, in the case of an individual; and (b) N5,000,000 or its equivalent, in the case of a body corporate.”
However, Nigerian banks do not obey the rules (by reporting to EFCC) in order not to lose deposits or customers. Yet they are stated on bank lodgement slips. For this reason, public officials loot with impunity.
Ribadu, Ayo Salami, Maina
Another factor is that those who are ready to fight corruption are dealt with by powerful individuals. Examples are Ribadu, the former EFCC boss, who was humiliated out of the Police. His sin was that he arrested Tafa Balogun, a former IG. Rasheed Maina, the Pension Task Team boss and Justice Ayo Salami, who refused to be used to pervert justice and was shown the way out of the Judiciary by powerful interest, are good examples.
Collapse of the economy and the education sector all conspire against the public official whose income cannot support expensive private schools but is ready to steal to make up.
The worst of these is that because of electoral fraud and money politics, whereby people are ready to sell their votes, corrupt misfits get into power, misgovern and divert public funds, making sure that vicious cycle of sleaze continues.
The Way Out
To make for effective anti-corrution enforcement, analysts admonish the streamlining of all agencies. They welcome the submission of the Stephen Oronsaye Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies which recommended this.
According to Oronsaye: “It was noted that the functions of the EFCC and ICPC are the traditional functions of the Nigeria Police. The Committee observed that even though the two Commissions were established separately to address corruption, which the Police appeared to have failed to do, successive administrations have ironically continued to appoint the Chairman of the EFCC from the Police Force, while the methodology adopted by the ICPC in conducting investigations as well as the training of its personnel in investigation procedure are carried out by the Police. One wonders if it was really expedient to dismember the Nigeria Police rather than allow it to evolve as a vibrant and effective agency.”
Another solution, in the words of other analysts, is that the cashless policy, introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, should be enforced. This will discourage the movement of cash and criminals could be checked since they will be asked to explain how they came about such money.
The most effective solution, as other concerned Nigerians put it, lies in the determination of Jonathan. As an elder statesman advised: “Our President can say, ‘I am not looking for second term. I must stop this corruption.’ With this single-minded zeal, thieves and potential pen robbers will be checked.” ‘‘Why do Nigerians still love the late Murtala who spent only six months? It was because he meant what he said.”
Lessons From Other Lands
Recently, Germany signed a new tax evasion treaty with Switzerland, which could bring Germany 10bn euros (£8.3bn, $13.1bn) next year. It is to check many German nationals who hide taxable income in banks in neighbouring Switzerland. The new non-domicile law concerning tax and money transfer is another example of political will.
Another example of political will to punish law breakers was recently shown by the Barack Obama government which withdrew over 10 military and secret service agents who were involved in illicit affairs with about 20 women at a hotel in Cartagena, Colombia. “The President has confidence in the Director of the Secret Service. Director Sullivan acted quickly in response to this incident and is overseeing an investigation into the matter as we speak,” said White House spokesman, Jay Carney.
Here in Africa, Botswana, which beat Nigeria in the new corruption index, demonstrated enough political will to enforce its laws, carry out reforms and eliminate poverty. That was why its former president, Festus G. Mogae, received the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. He will receive $5mn over the next 10 years and $200,000 per year thereafter for the rest of his life.
His March Through Courts
His March Through Courts
•25 Jan 1991- Ibori sentenced along his wife, Theresa, in London
• 7 February 1992- He was found guilty of handling stolen goods.
•1994- He was investigated by US authorities over huge dollar lodgements. He lost over $400,000.
•1995- He was convicted by an upper Area Court, Bwari, Abuja for criminal breach of trust.
•6 February 2004- The Supreme Court ruled that the case be determined by an Abuja High Court.
•8 November 2005- Justice Hussein Mukhtar, ruled in Ibori’s favour.
•December 2007- Ibori was arrested by EFCC
•17 December 2009- Justice Marcel Awokuleyin of the Federal High Court Asaba, set him free
•30 April 2010- Ibori escaped to Dubai
•7 June 2010- His sister, Christine Ibie – Ibori and associate Udomaka-Onuigbo, were jailed five years.
•22 November 2010- His wife, Theresa Nkoyo Ibori’ was sent to prison
•17 October 2010- A UAE Appeal Court gave a verdict that he be extradited to Britain
•12 February 2012- He pleaded guilty
•17 April 2012- He was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment.
This story was first published in TheNEWS hard copy of April 30, 2012