By Adenrele Animasaun, London
“Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit” – Hosea Ballow.
In a packed courtroom Ibori, dressed in a dark grey suit and black shirt, appeared in the dock to enter ten guilty pleas to fraud, money laundering and conspiracy on what was due to be the first day of a 12-week trial.
His wife, his mistress and his sister were all jailed for five years each for money laundering offences following earlier trials. Last March, Gohil, 46, described as Ibori’s London-based lawyer, was jailed for seven years for his role in the scam.
Attempts will be made to confiscate as much of Ibori’s money and assets as possible so that they can be returned to Nigeria. The Met’s Detective Inspector Paul Whatmore said: ‘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.’
Former Delta State Governor James Ibori(Odidigborigbo of Africa) has now pleaded guilty to all the charges of corruption and money-laundering levelled against him in London. This is the ‘best option’ for him as suggested by his well-paid lawyers instead of wasting time and resources to prosecute him.
Any bitter lesson for Nigerian leaders who are still looting and keeping the stolen funds in foreign banks? Is James Ibori paying the ultimate price for not supporting Dr Goodluck Jonathan’s political dream? Ibori’s accomplices are still serving their years behind UK bars and it is just impossible for the British Judge to set James Ibori free despite the un-deniable and concrete evidences of money-laundering.
All our massive wealth saved abroad in private bank accounts is enough to reduce the hardship and poverty in Nigeria only if our leaders are not ‘wickedly selfish’. Who is the next ‘execu-thief’ to go down like James Ibori? Many corrupt politicians and looters are still walking as ‘free men and women’ in Nigeria because they are ‘untouchables’. Nigeria is richly blessed with abundant natural and human resources but majority of Nigerians are still ‘neck-deep’ in chronic poverty.
For James Ibori -the time has come for those whose sole desire is to get to the seat of power to steal and pillage the coffers with impunity. Wake up and smell the coffee – IT WILL BE YOU SOON AND YOU WILL BE RIDICULED home and abroad AND WE WILL TAKE BACK YOUR SPOILS and ill gotten funds. YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE ASHAMED AND YOU AND YOUR RELATIVES WILL HIDE FOR GOOD.
Chinese mode of eradicating corruption should be adopted in Nigeria if we really committed to put an end to lootingcracy. If it is in China, proved looter would be executed in his/her family home and none of their lineage would ever serve in exalted office.
Nigerians never had a leader instead we’ve always been led by scumbags…… I hope very politician rogue should be scrutinized before contesting for any political post otherwise the rogues embarrass our great nation and the hard working poor citizens.
This is the time to ask our parliaments questions; both national and state parliaments, what their main duties are? Why are we paying huge amount of money from the reserves for service not rendered? For eight years under their watch one person stole this amount and it only took months for foreign countries to detect the act. The national assembly should be disbanded if they can’t make laws that would plug these loopholes: if they are not doing their job effectively or they are not doing it at all.
Once a convict ,always a convict. Thank God Ibori is not being convicted in Nigeria. They would have asked him to take a bow and the next thing hold a thanksgiving service and life continues. Everyday for the thief, one day for the owner.
Very shameful for unborn generation! Is it not an act of incurable madness for Nigerian leaders to steal money and keep them in foreign banks? Why not use the wealth to create employment, build modern computerised schools/hospitals, and provide good roads and all good things of life for fellow Nigerians? UK govt might NOT release all the Ibori’s stolen money!
Less we forget, James Ibori was implicated in the death of veteran politician and former NADECO financier, Chief Alfred ‘Osibakoro’ Rewane.
Falling and falling of Ibori
· He was found guilty of stealing goods from the Wickes store he worked at in Ruislip in 1990.
· He was later convicted of handling a stolen credit card.
· He was voted governor of Delta State in 1999, winning re-election four years later.
· He systematically stole from the public purse, taking kickbacks and transferring state funds to his own bank accounts around the world.
· He helped family members, including his wife Theresa, sister Christine Ibori-Ibie, his mistress Udoamaka Oniugbo and Mayfair lawyer, Bhadresh Gohil.
· He bought six properties in London, including a six-bedroom house with indoor pool in Hampstead for £2.2million and a flat opposite the nearby Abbey Road recording studios.
· There was a property in Dorset, a £3.2million mansion in South Africa and further real estate in Nigeria.
· He owned a fleet of armoured Range Rovers costing £600,000 and a £120,000 Bentley.
· On one of his trips to London he bought a Mercedes Maybach for more than £300,000 at a dealer on Park Lane and immediately shipped it to South Africa.
· He bought a private jet for £12million, spent £126,000 a month on his credit cards and ran up a £15,000 bill for a two-day stay at the Lanesborough hotel in London.
· Scotland Yard began its investigation into Ibori after officers found two computer hard drives in his London office that revealed his criminality.