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06/05/2012 | Corruption in Nigeria - Hard graft

The Economist Staff

JAMES IBORI, shop worker turned governor of Nigeria's oil-rich Delta state, was sentenced to 13 years in prison in a court in London on April 17th. His conviction for corruption has delighted the west African country. Graft is common in Nigerian politics but few go down for the crime.

 

Mr Ibori was arrested on 25 counts of money laundering, forgery and fraud. He pleaded guilty to 10 charges and to embezzling $73m, making it one of the largest money-laundering cases in British history. Moderate estimates suggest that around $8 billion is stolen from Nigeria’s state coffers every year. Mr Ibori is said to have swiped $79m from Delta state. He is the first high-profile Nigerian politician to be successfully prosecuted though ordinary Nigerians will be disappointed that it took the British justice system to put him behind bars.

Mr Ibori's criminal career began in 1991, pilfering from tills at Wickes, a British hardware shop, where he worked. He forged ID documents to hide his crimes and sneaked back into Nigeria. There he entered politics, eventually becoming state governor and one of the country’s most powerful politicians. He amassed a large fortune which he spent lavishly, buying, among other things, a house in Hampstead worth over $3.5m, which he paid for in cash, a $5m mansion in South Africa and a fleet of cars worth over $1m.

The EFCC, Nigeria's anti-corruption agency, tried to prosecute Mr Ibori after he left office but his reputation and wealth allowed him to dodge any charges. He managed to transfer his court case from northern Nigeria to a court in Delta state, where the judge—his cousin—dismissed all 170 charges against him. A former head of the EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, alleged Mr Ibori tried to bribe him with $15m to drop the investigations into his affairs. When he pursued the case, Mr Ribadu was removed from office and later went into exile in Britain.

Nigeria's anti-corruption agency has made feeble attempts to clean up Nigerian politics. Since 2005, it has charged 19 former state governors with corruption. But none has gone to jail despite the charges. Recently, Timpire Sylva, another former state governor, quarrelled with the president and was sacked. The EFCC then said he had embezzled millions of dollars and promptly declared him a fugitive. Corruption, it seems, is only a problem when you fall from grace.

The Economist (Reino Unido)

 


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11/01/2009|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
23/11/2008|
23/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
22/08/2008|
22/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
24/05/2008|
24/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
29/04/2008|
11/02/2008|
05/01/2008|
09/12/2007|
18/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/09/2007|
26/08/2007|
25/08/2007|
11/07/2007|
16/06/2007|
16/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
24/04/2007|
24/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
28/02/2007|
28/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
17/11/2006|
30/09/2006|
28/07/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
06/03/2006|
21/02/2006|
17/02/2006|
31/01/2006|
10/01/2006|
28/12/2005|
31/10/2005|
26/09/2005|
29/08/2005|
11/08/2005|
08/08/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|

ver + notas
 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House