Sunday, September 9, 2012

Nigerian Bribes and British Jails

Life imitates reality in a strange way this from the BBC

African viewpoint: Scramble for Nigeria's $15m 'bribe'
                   James Ibori (in white, second on the right) used to be a very powerful governor

In our series of viewpoints from African journalists, Sola Odunfa in Lagos wonders about the fate of $15m (£12m) deposited in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2007.
Somewhere in the vaults of the CBN a bag containing $15m has lain untouched for the past five years. It was taken there by an altruistic 47-year-old public servant who said he had been given the money as a bribe.
At the time of the deposit the story was incredible: The amount in Nigerian currency was far beyond the imagination of a majority of Nigeria's 150 million people; who was the Nigerian so mindlessly rich to dash away such money or who would reject it under any circumstance?
Well not beyond the imagination  of all Nigerians. This from Scam Watch.
 " A ‘Nigerian’ scam is a form of upfront payment or money transfer scam. They are called Nigerian scams because the first wave of them came from Nigeria, but they can come from anywhere in the world. The ‘4-1-9’ part of the name comes from the section of Nigeria’s Criminal Code which outlaws the practice.
The scammers usually contact you by email or letter and offer you a share in a large sum of money that they want to transfer out of their country. They may tell you about money trapped in central banks during civil wars or coups, often in countries currently in the news. Or they may tell you about massive inheritances that are difficult to access because of government restrictions or taxes in the scammer’s country.

Scammers ask you to pay money or give them your bank account details to help them transfer the money. You are then asked to pay fees, charges or taxes to help release or transfer the money out of the country through your bank. These ‘fees’ may even start out as quite small amounts. If paid, the scammer make up new fees that require payment before you can receive your ‘reward’. They will keep making up these excuses until they think they have got all the money they can out of you. You will never be sent the money that was promised."

Back to the BBC article

The depositor was indeed a Nigerian - and a Nigerian police officer to boot. He was Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, then head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
When he took the cash to the CBN in 2007, he said that it was a bribe given to him by James Ibori, then governor of the oil-rich Delta state, to stop the investigation of allegations of monumental corruption against him. Of course, Ibori denied it.
Mr Ribadu was undaunted. At the end of investigations he slammed a charge of 170 counts of corruption at the Federal High Court on Ibori, who was now out of his gubernatorial chair. The charge included the alleged attempted bribery.
Ibori was not only a state governor when he committed the alleged crimes, he was also a powerful member of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) and a financier of the presidential campaign of President Shehu Yar'Adua, now late. Which court in Nigeria would touch him?
The charge was struck out wholesale. Ibori walked tall from the court, cheered on by hundreds of party supporters and officials of the state government.
Mr Ribadu is a rare public servant I would suspect in any jurisdiction that he did the right thing in a country as corrupt as Nigeria is to be doubly applauded. 
Dog fight
They danced too soon. Mr Ribadu had filed complaints with the Metropolitan Police in Britain and they were stalking Ibori.
Efforts were made by the Nigerian government to stop the investigations abroad, but in vain. Mr Ribadu had given London all the evidence needed to prosecute the case.

Coincidentally Mr Ribadu fell out of favour with the government at about the same time, and he was dismissed from office. Now, remember that the $15m alleged bribe remained in the CBN. Ibori could not retrieve it because he had denied giving it.
Not an unusual outcome unfortunately.
The Metropolitan Police eventually caught up with him in Dubai, had him extradited to the UK and charged him with fraud and money laundering. Five months ago Ibori was convicted and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
A very welcome and unusual outcome well done Mr Ribadu.
Now, a dog fight has started in Nigeria to claim the $15m. The Nigerian government which shielded Ibori wants it. Delta State which said Ibori did not steal while serving as governor has staked a claim.
A faceless politician and a former adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo have joined in with a claim that they gave the money to Mr Ribadu for a different purpose.
Have they all no shame? Hail, Mallam Ribadu, wherever you may be now!

1 comment:

  1. its time this happened to them corrupt nigerians.hope its just a tip of the iceberg