By Adenike Lucas
James Onanefe Ibori is back in Nigeria after a court order allowed for his release from a UK prison.
Worried members of the public who have questioned the ingenuity of a bribe concerning the former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, say it is time the National Assembly invites Mr Ibori for talks that would provide more information on the bribery fiasco.
Mr Ibori, the ex Governor of Delta State, who was convicted for money laundering at Southwark Crown Court, London in 2012, allegedly offered the sum of $15 million as bribe to Mallam Ribadu, a pioneer chairman of the EFCC and 2015 Governorship aspirant.
According to Mallam Ribadu, who stood on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party to contest for the Governorship position in Adamawa, Mr Ibori tried to bribe him but failed, a claim that has been challenged by operatives of the anti-graft Commission.
Mallam Ribadu claimed that a colleague, Ibrahim Lamorde, then Head of Operation was asked to put the bribe money in the Central Bank vault in 2007.
However, there has been much controversies over this bribe money, many say now Mr Ibori is back in Nigeria he should start talking. “Did he really bribe Ribadu?”
Others want to know “what has happen to the money since it was forfeited to the Federal Government?”
Notable Ijaw leader, Edwin Clarke called for the money to be returned to the south-south state. However, Former Governor of Delta, Emmanuel Uduaghan was unsuccessful in his bid to reclaim the money in October 2013.
For so long, many have questioned the truth in what Mallam Ribadu has said. EFCC staff who have been in the Commission since the time of Mallam Ribadu say “that the former chairman had worked on the psyche of Nigerians. ”
“From my own perspective, I am not sure where Andy Uba collected the money from but he was directed to give the money to Lamorde,” a pioneer staff said.
A spokesperson to the former Governor, Tony Eluemunor, has also questioned the narrative drawn up by Mallam Ribadu over the alleged bribe.
Mallam Ribadu’s Abuja statement of 12th December 2007: “Sometime within the month of April 2007, Mr Ibori informed me that he had $15m for us (the EFCC) to collect. He said that it can be collected at Andy Uba’s residence, Aso Villa, Abuja.
“I therefore requested the Director of Operations of EFCC Mr. Lamorde to first arrange in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN for safe keeping of the money and proceed inform (sic) his officer to receive the money.
“The money was collected in my presence at Dr Andy Uba’s house on the 26/4/07 by Lamorde and his officers and deposited in the CBN Abuja branch on the same day”.
In 2007, Mallam Ribadu accused Mr Ibori of giving him the money in order to prevent a case against him. But in his book, My Watch (volume two), former President Olusegun Obasanjo demolished Mallam Ribadu’s allegation by offering a new vista of looking at Mallam Ribadu’s claims.
Among the findings, Chief Obasanjo noted that he harassed Mr Ibori to refund some money to Delta State and that even before the money came, he would open an account at the CBN to warehouse the funds.
Then, when the money was allegedly given to Mallam Ribadu, he asked Mallam Ribadu to treat it either as bribe or restitution – “any way” he liked.
The Three Musketeers (Ribadu, Lamorde and Magu)
Mallam Ribadu, Mr Lamorde and the current Acting Chairman of the agency, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu have been accused by staff of running the place down.
In December 2016, the Senate rejected the nomination of Mr Magu following an indicting report it received from the security service.
Desperate To Be Confirmed
The Senate’s decision to reject Mr Magu has put the “three musketeers” has they are popular known into panic mode.
Ribadu has taken a special interest to pleading for his friend Mr Magu seeing as “he knows the implication of what could happen to the shady deals done whilst he was head,” a source informed this blog.
Categories: Current Affairs