Category Archives: CORRUPTION

James Ibori, former Delta State governor, extradited from Dubai (UAE) to UK

Chief JAMES IBORI, former governor of Delta State

On 15 April, Chief James Ibori, former governor of Delta State, was extradited from the the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the United Kingdom, where he is to face charges involving corruption and money laundering.

According to reports, Ibori was arrested in his Dubai mansion the previous night and taken to an extradition processing center from where he was later flown to the UK.

Ibori, a two-term, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governor of Delta State from 1999 to 2007, has been under investigation in the U.K. for years, following allegations that he stole millions in state funds and deposited in British banks. As part of the investigation, U.K. authorities froze more than $100 million in assets tied to him.

In 2007, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja had accused him of stealing $292 million in state assets. However, he was believed to have been the biggest financial sponsor of Umaru Yar‘Adua‘s presidential campaign that year, and for a while appeared untouchable. A strong supporter of the Yar’Adua government with wide influence in the volatile Niger Delta, he had a cabinet nominee, and even accompanied the President on a state visit abroad.

His arrest and detention in December 2007 marked the beginning of the chain of events that culminated in the removal of the former EFCC boss, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu. On 17 December 2009, a federal court in Asaba, Delta State, struck out 170 charges of money laundering and corruption which the EFCC had filed against him, for lack of evidence. The judge, Marcel Awokulehin, held that the EFCC failed to provide sufficient evidence to support its charges.

In April 2010, he was declared wanted by the EFCC in connection with fresh allegations of a N44 billion fraud while he was the Delta State governor. After evading EFCC arrest for a while, he fled Nigeria, first to Ghana, and then to Dubai.

On 13 May 2010, he was arrested in Dubai at the request of the British government and questioned by Interpol. In December, he lost an appeal that would have blocked his extradition to the UK. However, on 31 March this year, he was released from the Dubai prison where he had been held since May 2010, on health grounds. But his UAE lawyer, Ali Masubah, said he could not travel out of Dubai, because he had been slammed a travel ban by a court in Ras al Khaimah (the UAE’s most picturesque emirate), stemming from a contractual property dispute that was still being heard.

Meanwhile, his wife (former Delta State First Lady, Theresa Nkoyo), his sister (Christine Ibori-Ibie), his mistress (Udoamaka Okoronkwo-Onuigbo) and his London lawyer (Bhadresh Gohil) had already been convicted, sentenced and jailed in U.K.

Scotland Yard has confirmed that Ibori has arrived in Heathrow Airport with a police escort and is now in custody in west London. In Abuja, EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi says the arrest should serve as “a warning to others who do everything to slow down the wheel of criminal prosecution in Nigeria”.

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US Consulate alerts public of new Diversity Visa lottery scam

On 4 February, the United States (US) diplomatic mission in Nigeria alerted the public to a new scam: fraudsters sending false e-mails and text messages to people, congratulating them on winning the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery to the US, as a ploy to defraud them.

Charity Boyette, Vice Consul of the US Consulate General in Lagos said over the last two weeks, she had received several e-mail messages that seem to originate from the United Kingdom, congratulating so-called winners of the US DV lottery. “It was very clear that they were sending to a large number of people”, she said.

Boyette disclosed that the fraudsters were asking the so-called winners to send them the mandatory lottery fees through Western Union. “And that they must send the money to the UK because, as the e-mail said, it can be processed there because of the diplomatic relations. That is absolutely not true. People only pay for DV lottery at the time of interview inside the Consulate, to the consulate cashier”, she emphasized.

She also said the fraudsters were making their scam letters more attractive by adding on different packages. “These include employment opportunities in the U.S. But that is not true”, she said. According to her, once a person is given a DV Lottery visa to the US, it is up to the person to get a job or accommodation for himself or herself in the US.

The Vice Consul also explained the procedure by which winners are notified of their success. “Winners of the DV visa lottery are no longer notified by a letter. Receiving an email or an SMS message is fraudulent. We don’t do that”.

She said DV 2012 winners will be notified through the embassy’s website in May. “All they need to do is to go to our website and enter their confirmation number to find out whether or not they won. If they do win, they will receive information as to how to proceed. We will no longer be sending out any letter to individuals’ addresses as we were doing before. There will be no email or SMS messages. It will be up to the applicants to check whether or not they have won US DV lottery”, she said.

She warned people not to be deceived because it was very easy for the embassy to confirm the real winners of the lottery. She said the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was working with Nigerian authorities to apprehend the fraudsters.

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