Ex-Nigerian State Governor Sentenced to 13 Years for Stealing $77M
(LONDON) -- A former Nigerian State Governor was sentenced on Tuesday to 13 years in England’s Southwark Crown Court for stealing millions intended for his constituents.
Despite admitting to 10 counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering an estimated $77 million, the amount stolen by James Ibori, 49, from the southeastern Nigerian Delta State was said to be "unquantified" by prosecutors, reports BBC.
Ibori has a history with law enforcement dating back to his time in England in the 1980s and 90s when he worked as a cashier at a Wickes DIY store in Middlesex. He was convicted, together with his wife, of stealing from the store in 1991 and later for stealing a credit card.
Shortly after, Ibori returned to his native Nigeria where he joined the People's Democratic Party, establishing an extensive network of political and business leaders, which resulted in his rise within the party to become one of the nation’s political elite. Ibori became the Delta State governor in 1999, a powerful position in Nigeria’s oil rich region.
Among items bought with the stolen funds were properties in England and South Africa, Range Rovers and a Bentley totaling over $6 million. When the net was closing in, Ibori evaded authorities by fleeing from Nigeria. He was eventually arrested in Dubai in 2010 by local police and extradited to England in 2011.
The oil rich Delta State’s infrastructure in the eight years of Ibori’s governance deteriorated despite oil revenue pouring into the state because, prosecutors say, the governor diverted the funds for his personal use.
The total amount pilfered is unknown because Ibori and family members set up bank accounts and shell companies around the world.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio