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You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>James Ibori: How a thief almost became Nigeria's president
Monday, 27 February 2012 23:02

James Ibori: How a thief almost became Nigeria's president

Written by BBC
Ibori Ibori bbc

UPDATE: James Ibori  admits financial crime of stealing $250 million

" Former governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta state, accused of stealing $250 million from the public purse, pleaded guilty in a London court Monday to fraud and money-laundering. James Ibori, 49, entered his plea at Southwark Crown Court . He is to be sentenced on April 16. Ibori’s guilty pleas capped an inquiry which began in association with Nigerian anti-corruption investigators in 2005. Ibori was immune from prosecution in Nigeria between 1999 and 2007 when he was serving as governor of Delta state, police said," according to report by Robert Barr, Associated Press.

The story of how James Ibori went from convicted thief in London in the 1990s, to become governor of a wealthy oil-producing Nigerian state and then to a British prison is a remarkable one.


It is the story of a wily political operator, backing the right political horses and shifting allegiances when expedient.


Given slightly different circumstances, according to one observer, it could have seen Ibori in the presidential villa rather than a British jail cell.


Ibori's defence in the face of allegations had always been that he had a successful business career and had made money independent of government.


But in 1991, he was working in a hardware store in the London suburb of Neasden.


James Ibori (file photo)Ibori

Some of Ibori's assets were in the name of his wife, sister and mistress

The prosecution in this trial told a judge he was earning around £15,000 ($24,000) a year.


He was caught by his employer allowing his wife to walk through the till he was manning without paying for goods.


They both pleaded guilty at Isleworth Crown Court and were fined.


In 1992, he was convicted for possession of a stolen credit card, which had £1,000 spent on it, and was again fined in a UK court.



Last modified on Tuesday, 28 February 2012 14:01

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