EMBATTLED former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori yesterday, described the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, allegation of laundering N1.6 billion against him, published in a national newspaper, as a “dishonourable low-level cheap shot media manipulation attempt” to sway public opinion and misdirect his London trial.
Speaking through his Media Assistant, Mr. Tony Eluemunor, he said “it is unfortunate that while Nigerians wait in vain for the EFCC, to unravel the massive petrol subsidy scam through which the nation loses billions of naira daily, EFCC is busy fighting yesterday’s battles and when not repeating old lies, is manufacturing spectacular new ones just to hoodwink the public.
“By sponsoring the irredeemably nasty story, which alleged that Ibori laundered money in the guise of buying a private jet, which EFCC now says was never bought, the EFCC should now tell Nigerians whether it is incompetent or a lie-enchanted agency or both. This was because the same EFCC has for over seven years claimed that it had uncovered how Ibori purchased a Challenger private jet from Canada.
“If the EFCC is saying, seven years after it began its investigation, years after the agency arrested Ibori and charged him before a Federal High Court, Kaduna, years after the full amount for the jet was said to have been restrained by a British court, is it now that the case against Ibori in a London court has entered the home stretch that the EFCC has suddenly realised that its claim that Ibori bought a private jet was totally unfounded?
“Where does that leave an on-line blog and its story, “How James Ibori bought a Challenger jet,” now that EFCC has confessed that Ibori never bought a private jet? Will Ibori be expecting an apology from the media organisations that misled the public by trumpeting that lie cooked up by EFCC?
“The truth is that Ibori has been a victim of media manipulation and international conspiracy aimed at scoring a sinister political goal. Now that the trial has started, and time for the EFCC and the London Police to prove their corruption charges against Ibori, the London Police dramatically dropped all corruption charges for want of evidence.
With that alone, they vindicated Justice Marcel Awokulehin’s ruling at the Federal High Court, Asaba, that there was no iota of evidence to back the corruption charges EFCC had instituted against Ibori in Nigeria,” the statement added.