New evidence has emerged to prove that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) actually cleared former Governors James Onanefe Ibori, Victor Attah and Bola Tinubu of all allegations â€“ in 2008 – while Mr. Nuhu Ribadu himself was EFCC boss.
This happened when Mr. M.S. Hassan (Head of Legal, Lagos) wrote a legal opinion, on that same case CR NO 10357 07 and concluded in a document dated 26 November,Â 2008 viz; â€œI humbly recommend that based on my answers to the issue for determination, the ADFI money temporarily frozen from account can be released to them and also the charges that were filed at the High Court which was purely to prevent the account from being de-frozed by the court should be abated….â€ Ribadu accepted this legal opinion and acted as advised.
“Apart from Ribaduâ€™s EFCC finding, no reason whatsoever to continue with the case against the accused, in Ribaduâ€™s hallmark charge and detain before investigation style, the matter was already in court and the ADFIâ€™s account had been frozen before investigation ever began â€“ as the Mr. Hassanâ€™s legal opinion quoted above testifies.
“Also, I want to state categorically that no one has actually been declared wanted by the London Metropolitan Police, just as there are no outstanding arrest warrants for anyone over this controversy. So a lot of claims have been hyped and sensationalised by Ribadu, who last weekend, in several newspapers, denied his roles in trying to undermine Nigeria through false accusations against three former governors, especially James Onanefe Ibori, for nefarious reasons.
“For instance, Ribadu stated in several newspapers: â€œI have nothing to do with the V-Mobile case or the case that is going on in the United Kingdom.
There is a case involving Ibori and his associates….â€ Well, if Ribadu has started denying his involvement in the case, it is because he fully knows that there is no merit in the allegations as the Hassanâ€™s legal opinion of 2008 which Ribadu himself accepted and acted upon proves.
It is on record that ADFI did no other business in Nigeria apart from the sale of the Akwa Ibom and Delta State shares before EFCC hounded it out, despite its keenness to re-invest into the country.Â It is the same transaction that the London Metropolitan Police have been interested in as was made manifest in UKâ€™s letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), and EFCCâ€™s report of its investigations to the AGF also referenced â€œInvestigation Activities; Alleged Case of Conspiracy, Money Laundering, Abuse of
Office and Official Corruption African Development Fund Inc. Account No.0140011552, â€Â The same case was under reference when the AGF replied by sending to London a copy of the legal opinion written by the EFCC under Ribadu, clearing ADFI of any wrongdoing.
Now Ribadu is denying his involvement in a case that was maliciously started by him, and that is still being pursued by him just because it is becoming clear to Nigerians that only dirty politics and personal malfeasance would have made him to move against companies and individuals when no prima facia case had been established – as he did in this case.
Moreover, he may be denying his role because it is now becoming clearer by the day that he has been denigrating the Federal Government of Nigeria for nefarious reasons. If not, he and his agents would not have involved the name of Mr. David Edevbie, Principal Secretary to the President, in a case where he was never involved at all as he did not even sign the agreement between Delta State and ADFI.
As shown in a document of 29th November 2005, where Dr. Sam Okpokpor and Reginald Bayoko signed on behalf of the state. Ribadu deliberately involved Mr. Edevbie just to malign the Government.
The V- mobile transaction was well above board as the over $1.6billion transaction passed the scrutiny of relevant agencies. Yet today the British Police through Ribadu, is the only complainant.
Ribadu told the weekend papers that â€œthey discovered that the offence was committed in the UK. That is what they are investigatingâ€. Yet, if it is internal to the UK then why did London write the AGF under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) asking about the sale of the shares of Delta, Lagos and Akwa-Ibom states and nothing more? It cannot be an investigation internal to the UK because the allegations are all Nigerian-based.
Ribadu also said at the weekend: â€œif they (the UK Police) now want to use my interview as evidence in court I have nothing to do with thatâ€. Iboriâ€™s reply to this is that he welcomes any acid test that would compare Ribaduâ€™s London statement with his Nigerian statement on the bribery allegation which Ibori has vigorously denied, so that the whole world would determine who the liar is. Ibori is not bothered any bit about this accusation which Ribadu has now dragged into newspaper pages; for this may become a God-given opportunity to expose the lies about that bribery allegation..
Ibori hereby encourages, even pleads with Nigerian journalists to please, in Godâ€™s name, publish also the statements made by Ribadu himself, his then Director of Operations, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde and yet another by EFCC operative then, Mr. James Garba, all written in December 2008, so that Nigerians would see whether any sentence in all the FOUR statements agree in any material particular, except the sum of money being deceptively bandied about. Only a fool would expect that there would be wide and wild variations in the statements made by three persons over how one man tried to influence an agency.
To fool Nigerians, Ribadu mentioned the finding of â€œ$37.8 million dollars stolen from Nigeriaâ€ but facts have emerged that the amount duly paid to AFDI was actually $38.5m representing the 5% agreed broker fee for actual services provided, under the exclusive arranger agreement which was fulfilled.Â Each state received over $350m after the deal. The total value of the transaction was over $1.6billion and the transaction was well documented and the commission was paid into Access Bank here in Nigeria because ADFI had planned to re-invest in Nigeria.Â In fact all aspects of the transactions are transparently present in Nigeria, enabling EFCC under Ribadu to arrive at the truth and clear all persons involved of any crime.
As this successful, well documented transaction but is now being rubbished as part of political vendetta against Ibori, international business interests will lessen their trust in Nigeria. The damage to Nigerian commerce will be colossal, as once again Ribadu has unjustifiably demonised Nigeria, as corrupt â€“ even after the EFCC under him has adjudged the transaction as clean after vigorous investigations led EFCC under Ribadu to withdraw it had filed over the matter.