September 12, 2012

Ibori $15m: Court orders IG to arrest Uba, bizman

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA — Following an application by Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, an Abuja Chief Magistrate Court sitting at Wuse, has ordered the Inspector-General of Police, to arrest and investigate Senator Andy Uba and one Chibuike Achigbu, with a view to ascertaining their actual involvement in the $15 million bribe allegedly offered to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by cronies of the convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, in 2007.

It will be recalled that Achigbu, who identified himself as an oil magnate, on August 29, 2012, approached a Federal High Court, Abuja, claiming that the said money, which is currently in custody of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, belonged to him.

This is even as both the Federal Government and the Delta State government are currently enmeshed in a legal tussle over who should keep the alleged bribe money, which Ibori denied offering or authorising anyone to offer on his behalf.

Meanwhile, few days after the court fixed September 17 to hear arguments from both the Federal Government and Delta State government on the issue, Achigbu, who engaged the services of three Senior Advocates of Nigeria, went before the court, claiming that he actually gave the $15 million to Dr. Andy Uba, a former aide to the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, for the purpose of financing Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the 2007 general election.

In an affidavit he deposed to before the high court, Achigbu averred that owing to his desire to ensure that PDP secured power at various levels of governance in the country then, he initiated a personal fund-raising scheme for the party.

Nevertheless, dissatisfied with the explanations, Keyamo sought an order for the duo to be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted for either acting as accessories to an act of bribery or for deposing to false affidavit, which he said amounts to perjury.

Keyamo maintained that in the event that the origin of the $15 million was not ascertained, Uba and Achigbu should be charged with money laundering and/or conspiracy and bribery.

He further contended that in the alternative, the Federal Government should: “Arrest Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, interrogate him and charge him to court, if necessary, for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perjury as regards the proceedings in Asaba, when he swore on oath or procured another to swear that he was given a bribe.

“This is because, it is either Ribadu on the one hand is lying that he was offered $15 million as bribe or Andy Uba, Ibori and Achigbu on the other hand are all lying that it was not bribe. Both versions cannot be correct and any version that is false amounts to a crime under our laws.”