Ibori Opens Up On Oando Shares, As Ribadu Gives Further Evidence
Gbenga Olorunpomi (@GbengaGold)
Former governor of Delta state, James Ibori, now serving time in a British jail has opened up about his shares in Oando, Nigeria’s biggest indigenous oil company. In a leaked private conversation with one of his former aides in London, the convict insisted he only has 443 shares in the company and he wonders why the public was being told something else.
This insistence by Ibori is coming at a time when a Crown Court prosecutor witness told the world that the Ibori family has a 30 per cent share in Oando, during the hearing on the confiscation of assets of the former governor. However, the only evidence in this regard is a statement by a foreign bank. No further evidence has been presented and the prosecution is yet to prove this part of its case in court.
On Thursday, when the Crown prosecution witness took the stand in Court 14, Southwark Crown Court, no mention was made of the Oando assets or the controversy over the amount or size of shares throughout the nearly 2 hours cross examination by Ibori’s lead counsel. So far, the remarks about the Oando appears both misleading and exaggerated. The company, in a widely publicized statement, has denied culpability and maintains its position that it cannot be held responsible for misrepresentation by any shareholder or contradictory statements made to other people. The company further stated in the public statement that Oando has only 443 shares against Ibori’s name, a fact that can be verified from the company’s Registrars-First Registrars Nigeria Ltd.
On an eventful day of testimonies, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Former EFCC Chairman, under whose tenure Ibori was arrested and charged to court, took the stand for over an hour. In a clinical rendition of the Ibori corruption investigation by the EFCC under his leadership, their findings, Ibori’s arrest and politics that threatened to disrupt their investigative work, Ribadu under examination provided details. He revealed once again how a bribe of $15 million offered him by Ibori to obtain an EFCC corruption clearance letter backfired. Ribadu maintained that the EFCC investigation of Ibori relied on three sources – Bankers, key Delta State government officials and people around Ibori.
” Ibori wanted to bribe me personally in order to get an EFFC clearance letter freeing him from corruption (investigations),” Ribadu said. “The $15 million bribe he offered was sent straight to the CBN as exhibit and the CBN issued us a reciept. But Ibori wanted a clearance and each time he saw me, he demands that I give his a clearance letter.
“When a new president (Late Yar’ Adua) emerged and new political appointments were made, there was a lot of interference in our work. They wanted the Ibori case stopped. The new Attorney General, Michael Andooaka, one day after being sworn, in wanted to take over the prosecutorial powers of the EFCC. Luckily, a supreme court ruling gave EFCC prosecutorial powers. But not long afterwards, I was removed. Five days after charging Ibori to court in an Abuja High Court, I was asked to vacate my position as EFCC chairman. I was sent to NIPSS. James had told me I would be removed as EFCC chairman. He told me I would charged to court and also that I will be dismissed form the Police force…”
Ribadu told the court that all the three threats Ibori made were fufilled. He was removed as EFCC chair. Charged to court for non- asset declaration and dismissed from the force in what was a clear act of political victimisation.
Also, it was revealed that it was at Andy Uba’s house (former SA to Obasanjo) in Abuja, on a hot afternoon in April 2007, that Ribadu and Ibori met and the $15 million US cash was handed over to the EFCC team. The team took the money straight to the CBN office in the same city and handed it over without Ibori’s knowledge. Current EFCC boss, Murtala Lamorde and another senior EFCC officer in the Operations Unit, James Garba, were present along with Ribadu when the bribe money was handed over.
Meanwhile, we can reveal that DLA Piper, UK LLP, acting on behalf of Oando, has written the Director of Public Prosecution of the Crown Court, (defendant) London demanding for two immediate remedies. First, that the case against Oando, if any, be be clarified and in the event that there is any wide involvement as asserted, it should provide such evidence. Secondly, refrain from making public assertions in the process of communication proceedings against ibori which may indicate Oando is implicated in such proceedings. The letter was dated 18th September, 2013.
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