By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—FORMER Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, who is serving a jail term in a London prison for money laundering, has described the recent allegation by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that there was a new discovery of his secret mansion in Lekki, Lagos State, as bizarre, saying he built the house five years before he became governor of the state.
Chief Ibori condemned the publications in some Nigerian newspapers and on-line blogs that EFCC discovered his “secret mansion” located on 5, Alpha Beach Road, Lekki, Lagos, on January 24, 2013, adding that the claim being credited to EFCC’s spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujiaren, made it even more bizarre.
Media Assistant to Ibori, Mr. Tony Eluemunor, in a statement, said that the house could not have been secret as it was listed in the Asset Declaration Forms he filled in 1999, 2003 and 2007.
He said: “Despite EFCC’s insinuations to the contrary, the Alpha Beach Road house was built as far back as 1994, and so could not have, by any leap of the imagination, been built with proceeds, corrupt or not corrupt, from my office as state governor because I began to live in that house five good years before I was voted into office.
“The only rational explanation for the emergence of this story is well known, and that is that facts are being twisted to deceive the public and as the confiscation process against Ibori progresses, some elements in EFCC may desperately be trying to manufacture things to uphold their often exaggerated stories about Ibori’s wealth.
“If the stories published about the house were actually based on EFCC’s statement, it means that EFCC had accepted that Ibori was actually enormously rich at least half a decade before he became governor of Delta State. After all, EFCC and the media called the house a “mansion,” describing it in superlative terms.”