Ibori: Clouds Over Attempt To Bribe AG

The unending saga over the attempt to prosecute the former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, appears headed for uncharted territory. In what may result in a huge scandal, sources in the Attorney General’s Office in Abuja, claims that the British government through one of its agencies, attempted to bribe the Attorney General and Justice Minister, Michael Aondoakaa.

James Ibori

The source told The Times of Nigeria that a senior official of Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) tried to “induce or engage in inappropriate conduct” to influence the investigation of the former governor of Delta State.

An official in the AG’s who wish to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the case told The Times of Nigeria that Eamon Cassidy, director of United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) during a visit to the Attorney General’s office last month in company of some British “police officers or Crown Prosecutors” from London attempted to induce the Michael Aondoakaa by offering the AG one million pounds for “assistance.”

Eamon and the other officials from the UK were in Nigeria to discuss the outstanding case involving the former governor in a London Court. However, during the meeting at the AG’s office in Abuja, the AG and other Justice Ministry aides in attendance were said to have been shocked when the DFID boss told the Aondoakaa that his agency and the British Government would like to offer the AG’s office money for “judicial reforms.”

“It was shocking because it is strange for such an offer to be made right immediately after discussing Ibori’s case and seeking cooperation from the Minister. It looked as if they were offering the money in return for something. The Minister was shocked to say the least.” A Justice Ministry official privy to the meeting said.

A London court on August 2, 2007 granted an application restraining Ibori, Erin Aviation and others from interacting with their assets in the United Kingdom pending the determination of the case. The judge later lifted.

The judge, Goymer had complained of the inability of the police to present evidence to support its case against “I have allowed the Crown two months to put new material before the Court to support the allegations against Chief Ibori. If anything, on the material before me today there is less cause for me to believe that Chief Ibori has benefited from criminal conduct in Nigeria.”

However, the CPS appealed against the judgment, leading to the granting of an ex-parte motion for the status quo before the October 1 ruling of the Crown Court to remain.

The Criminal Court of Appeal in London extended the order freezing the, till November 29, 2007, when the Crown Prosecution and lawyers to the ex-governor are expected to appear in court.

The CPS is expected to present any new evidence it has to support the continued freezing of Ibori’s account. The Judges are likely to throw out the case and once again unfreeze Ibori’s assets unless the CPS shows evidence to prove that Ibori’s properties were illegally acquired.

Source close to the Ibori who declined to have their names mentioned believe that it is “the desperation to get the evidence from Nigeria that may have led the DFID boss into desperate actions.”

“How can you be offering a so called legal assistance at the same meeting where Ibori’s case was being discussed especially when you are a party to the case?” He queried.

Ibori declined to comment on the case when Times of Nigeria reached him. Several call to DFID’s Abuja office for comment went un-answered.

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13 responses to “Ibori: Clouds Over Attempt To Bribe AG

  1. This is just a means of distracting the public from the main issues. To start with, why those the AG need to be persuaded to release information that will be vital in the fight against corruption. His reluctance in releasing information shows a grant design to cover-up Ibori’s numerous corrupt practices. After all, during the incidence involving Chief D. S. P. Alamieyeseigha the then AG rushed to London with all the necessary information needed to prosecute the man. It is very sure that is President Yaradua is not careful, this Ibori’s issues will eventually consume his Government, and he will only end up in the Hall of fame of the worst Nigerian, were Obasanjo is currently the center of attraction.

  2. Some of are not surprised by this development. Especially because of the mob mentality of the the Nigerian media, who have already judged Ibori guilty. The EFCC has no case against Ibori. They are still investigating, two years after its Czar, Ribadu claimed Ibori was the MOST INVESTIGATED GOVERNOR. If the EFCC has anything against Ibori, why has the former not been arrested. The other day, the agency sold a story to the lap dogs that is the media in Nigeria that Ibori is on the run. But for God sake, the man is very much around. Of course, Ribadu as a lawyer knows that he cannot arrest him when he does not even have a shred of evidence against him. THEY ARE FISHING FOR EVIDENCE. TOO LATE, I MUST CONFESS, BECAUSE THEY WONT FIND ANY

  3. For goodness sake, this is just another smokescreen in the investigation of this saga-prone ex-governor.

    Hypothetically, I do not see how the offer of assistance to “reform judiciary” could be misconstrued to be bribery, gratification etc, call it what you may. The name – Dept For International Development – states clearly the mission and objective of the body.

    If Mr Ibori thinks he is innocent of any accusation, I suggest that he simply throws his books open to the investigators; showing dates, how much he earned and from what transaction; how much he has paid in income and corporation tax; all his bank statements from the time he lived in north London to date.

    There’s a good old saying, “A clear conscience fears no accusation”. What about that Mr Ibori.

  4. Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

    What if the British police investigation team was not sending a decoy with the seemingly simplistic move to TEST the susceptibility of Nigerian top government officials to subtly posed and suggestively packaged as benign and naive offers of egunje, the oyibo way.

    After all they saw a Nigerian Attorney General fly into the UK to brazenly facilitate OBJ’s vendetta on D.S.P Alamieyeseigha, and were compelled to look the other way as he was edged on to jump bail, and return to Nigeria, to the infuriation of Baba Senator Iyabo.

    What is to disprove the possibility that the current Attorney General, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), given the much adverse publicity he may have attracted for himself so far, appearing to be favourably disposed to providing kid gloves treatment for the likes of Chief James Ibori, Sir (Dr.) Peter Odili, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Otunba Ayo Peter Fayose, Alhaji Saminu Turaki, Reverend Jolly Nyame et al,, had to be tested indirectly to provide them reasonable context about whether AGAIN, the Nigerian presidency is serious or not about prosecuting people like James Ibori, who have significant amounts of looted money from the Nigerian treasury, and how they can bring the case squarely within their exclusive jurisdiction to bring Ibori et al to justice, and ….. confiscate their loots wholesale, under UK laws (at least in the name of the on-going war against terrorism)! Very cleaver of the British fellows. Smart guys.

  5. Ibori had a foreign account while in office as governor of Delta State? Isn’t that against the constitution? Isn’t that felony? Someone please tell me if I am wrong. ..and they are still looking for proof to adorn him with silver bangles?

  6. Chukwuemeka Olisa

    Kanayo:
    While not holding brief for Ibori or any of the governors, there is no law in our constitution that says public office holder cannot have a foreign account while in office. Some of these governors already had foreign accounts before becoming governor.

    The issue at hand is whether his wealth is a product of corruption.

  7. Chukwuemeka:

    Thanks for clarifying that grey area for me.

  8. sunny ofili ,it is a shame that you who started well last year ,have allowed your times of nigeria to be bribed by the delta state govt led by ibori and uduaghan.this is just a cheap pro story,i remenber that during uduaghan us visit, you shamelessly took s picture with the gov, who you fought heavily lastyear.learn from saharareporters,who by the nature of his stories,proves that he is not collecting any money from pro and anti govt agencies.i am a deltan leaving in the uk

    Editor’s Note:
    The Times of Nigeria does not write “pro” or “anti” stories – our stories are based on facts. We do not subscribe to mob mentality in pursuit of justice. It is rather unfortunate that in the rush to bring justice to those who have pillaged our country, due process, rule of law and the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven have become steady casualties. We are not a crusading press with perpetual enemies.

    The triviality of a “photo op” with Delta State governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan does not merit further comment because it is what it is – trivial.

  9. Obi Adimaly (London)

    There always will be conflicting comments on the wrongs in Nigeria and by Nigerians. Former and current governors and officials will continue to cart away national resources until a genuine leadership appears in Nigeria with a conviction to uphold the rule of law. But the problem in the country is that there is no one who believes in law and order and therefore no one to uphold it. There is the government, the police and judiciary. Does any of these institutions play any useful part in ensuring orderliness in Nigeria? I have lost hope.

  10. How in the world can you headlined an offer of assistance for judicial reforms as an attempt to bribe.

    The office of Ag is an Institution distinct from the Ag himself.

    Your attemp to slander a well meaning officer of a friendly country is a shame to say the least.

  11. Emeka Aneke (Wiltshire)

    Re: Chukwuemeka Olisa

    Dear Olisa

    I have no idea what constitution Mr Olisa is reading from but suffice to say that since the inception of Murtala Mohammed, a ban on public office holders running foreign bank accounts has been in place.

    I remember vividly that Alhaji Alhaji was once compelled to close his bank account in London at some point in his career. In 1984 when many 2nd republic politicians were prosecuted for fraud, embezzlement, kick-backs etc maintaining a foreign account was also included in those charges. In hindsight, one would wonder, “How could those erstwhile public office-holders been charged with a non existing offence?”

    NB. kanayo is absolutely correct in his query above.

    Please let us always check our facts thoroughly in future.

    Thanks

  12. This story is utter rubbish. We have requested that this inaccurate
    report be amended or removed from The Times of Nigeria website.

    If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Kind regards,

    Andrew Winstone
    DFID Press Office

  13. THIS WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION CAN ONLY BE WON IF WE FOLLOW DUE PROCESS. IF WE DO NOT DELIBRATELY PAINT INNOCENT PEOPLE AS CRIMINALS. AS AT THIS MOMENT, IBORI HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED WITH ANY CRIME. THE RIBADU ENGINEERED NEWSPAPERS SLANDERING OF IBORI IS MOST UNFORTUNATE AND MUST BE CONDEMNED BY RIGHT THINKING PEOPLE. IBORI’S ASSETS IN LONDON AND ELSEWHERE WERE ACQUIRED BEFORE HE WAS ELECTED GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE. AND FOR GOD SAKE, IBORI WAS STINKINGLY RICH. HE DECLARED HIS ASSETS. IF THE EFCC AGENTS WERE DOING THEIR WORK DILIGENTLY, THEY WOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT THE ASSETS THEY ARE FEEDING THE NEWSAPERS AND MAGAZINES WERE IN HIS ASSETS DECLARATION DOCUMENTS. THEY SHOULD VISIT THE CODE OF CONDUCT OFFICE FOR THE DOCUMENTS AND STOP HOUNDING IBORI. PERIOD

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