How James Ibori Became the Perfect Model of the Corrupt Politician

By: George Velvet

James Ibori was active in the Nigerian political scenario for quite some time. During his political career, he committed various acts where his corruption was up for public display. On many occasions, Ibori escaped prosecution owing to his political influence.

Among an array of heinous crimes that he committed, the most embarrassing has been looting the money of very many poor people who elected him. He laundered their money and misused his political resources for his illicit ambitions.

Born in Nigeria, Ibori shifted base to London sometime in the 1980s. In London, he married Theresa and worked for Ruilship. Ibori started his criminal stint with petty stealing. In the year 1990, he and his wife were arrested on the charge of stealing from his place of work. In 1991, he was arrested again for using a stolen credit card.

In order to hide his past felonies, Ibori acquired a fake certificate of birth. He also obtained a fake passport to get a mortgage. Ibori then headed back to Nigeria and assumed the role of a consultant to Sani Abacha, who was the President of Nigeria at that time.

In 1990 Ibori became a member of the National Republican convention. After a political journey of nine years, where he faced many highs and lows, Ibori finally emerged victorious in 1999 with PDP (Peoples Democratic Party). As a rule in Nigerian Law, Ibori had to swear that he had a clean criminal record in order to take office. For this, he resorted to the fake documents that he had got made in London.

After being elected as the Governor, James Ibori began a series of crimes. He intermittently stole money from public funds and laundered them with the help of his offshore companies. Taking undue advantage of his position, he gave away critical contracts of the state to the members of his family. He unlawfully used public money to fund an ostentatious lifestyle, meet huge debts on his credit cards and buy expensive gifts for his relatives.

However, the real crimes of Ibori began when he was reelected to power in 2003. He developed close ties with the Ugandan criminal Emmanuel Katto. Ibori awarded Emmanuel Katto’s companies the contract to supply power in urban and rural Nigeria. For this he took a huge fee from Katto. However, Katto did not oblige to the deal and failed to deliver on the contract.

During his stint as the Governor, Ibori continuously evaded the law and used his political influence to keep prevent prosecution. However, in 2007, after being voted out of power, he was arrested by the Economic and Finance Crimes Commission. He was charged with more than 150 crimes that were slammed upon him, including money laundering wrongful use of the office of Governor.

Ibori also managed to successfully bribe the anti-corruption officials with $15 million in cash. As a result, the Federal High Court dismissed his case. The case was reopened three years later in 2010 when there were strong allegations that he has wrongfully accumulated $266 million.

Ibori went to Dubai to avoid arrest. However, the UK and Nigerian government worked in tandem with Interpol to get him arrested.

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Further information on James Ibori can be found here.

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