Re: Econet Nigeria Saga – The long arm of the law

by | Oct 20, 2015

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth part in a series of narratives culled from Strive Masiyiwa’s blog. Read Part 1Part 2 , Part 3 and Part 4


Abraham Lincoln once observed, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to see a man’s character give him power.”

As governor of the oil-rich Delta State in Nigeria, James Ibori had a great deal of power. What he did with some of his power was blatantly steal from the Nigerian people. Public money meant for building schools, health clinics, roads, etc. was instead diverted by slick operators to several personal overseas bank accounts across the globe.

As a public sector official, Governor Ibori had a constitutional responsibility to administer state resources to benefit the people of Delta State. Instead, he even tried to bribe the Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission!

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In addition to trying to solicit bribes from me, and successfully extracting them from others, another crime was to steal about 10% of the share payments that SHOULD have gone into Delta State coffers. This was a lot of loot so as usual he decided to stash it overseas

___As I’ve told you before, to track the trail of destruction that is corruption… Follow the money!

Unbeknownst to him at the time, the British government had passed a similar law to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, known as the British Anti-Bribery Act. Although he had been under investigation since 2005, when Mr Ibori decided to divert some of the stolen funds to London, the UK bank receiving the money alerted the authorities, as they are required to on such large amounts.

Mr Ibori managed to elude justice for a while because he had immunity as a state governor. Even when his term ended, he was still protected by powerful people in President Yar’Aduah’s government. However, when President Yar’Aduah died, Mr Ibori knew he would be arrested under warrant from Britain because the London lawyer (and accomplice) Bhadresh Gohil had exposed the truth.

Mr Ibori fled to Dubai but the British traced him there and used Interpol to arrest him and bring him to the UK for trial.

In February 2012 he pleaded guilty because his associates including Mr Gohil had already pleaded guilty to money laundering, implicating him in several crimes. He eventually pleaded guilty to 10 offenses including conspiracy to launder funds from the state, money laundering and obtaining money transfer by deception and fraud. In April 2012, Mr Ibori was sentenced to 13 years.
___This was a stunning victory in the fight against corruption.

We will not end corruption on this continent unless we are prepared to pay a price to end it! This means that you and I must be prepared to lose what may appear to be the deal of our lives. And let me tell you, when it is happening it is never easy; of course, it is hard.

Jesus said, “What is it for a man to gain the whole world but to lose his soul?”

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If you engage in corruption, you will likely become rich, probably very rich, with all the material things in this life. Most likely you will never be caught like the hapless Ibori, and his advisors, BUT, The Master said, “YOU WILL LOSE YOUR SOUL.”

Photo Credit: Sam Howzit via Compfight cc

Múyìwá Mátùlúkò
Múyìwá Mátùlúkò

Chief Servant. I bully myself because I make me do what I put my mind to.


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