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Former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, who was recently released after serving his jail term in London, has raised issues over the contradictory statements of a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, and former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

In a statement on Saturday by his media aide, Tony Eluemunor, Ibori denied ever offering $15 million bribe to an ex-EFCC boss, and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Nuhu Ribadu.

The statement by Eluemunor reads in part: “The former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, has travelled the world just to dress himself in borrowed and sanctimonious plumes; that he rejected a $15m bribe from Chief James Onanefe Ibori.

“Yet, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has demolished Ribadu’s allegation by offering a new vista of looking at Ribadu’s claims. Obasanjo said in his own book, “My Watch” (volume two) that he harassed 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 Ribadu, he asked Ribadu to treat it either as bribe or restitution “any way” he liked. So, Obasanjo even claimed to have been aware of the money before it went to Ribadu.

“Who would have bribed Ribadu by first telling Obasanjo about it? And which Governor would have incriminated himself by making restitution to his state by returning stolen funds to Obasanjo? When did Obasanjo become a restitution agent for Nigeria? Which law backed the actions he claimed to have taken? All these questions scream that Aso Rock cooked up the story and Ribadu played along; and the funds came from the Third Term slush fund to blackmail Ibori.

“What is obvious here is that the $15 million bribe allegation is a result of high-stakes treachery if Obasanjo’s story is interposed against statements from EFCC operatives. It was a plot from hell. Or why should there be several versions of one single event? That would only happen if some or all the parties involved are lying. Now, may we look at some of the statements from Ribadu himself, Ibrahim Lamorde, James Garba, a Central Bank of Nigeria staff seconded to EFCC, Senator Andy Uba and EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN). Everyone contradicted every other person’s claims.



“Ribadu said: “Before the end of (Ibori’s) term, we met at one of his friend’s house in Abuja (notice that Uba was now more of a friend to Ibori than Ribadu!). I had brought several of my colleagues from the EFCC.
“They witnessed Ibori handing over to me a bag containing $15m in cash, as a pay-off which I pretended to treat as restitution for the monies he stole from his state. (Ribadu’s book: “My Story”, page 124)” Yes, restitution and NOT BRIBE; this vindicates Obasanjo’s claim and points to his role in the allegation which looks like a scam) But from Wale Adebanwi’s “A Paradise of Maggots” comes this: “Ribadu claimed that Ibori brought along a bribe of $15m in cash, ‘in two bags’, “Ribadu then called Lamorde, Ibrahim Magu and five other officers through the mobile phone to come to Uba’s house to pick up the bribe. Lamorde and his team took the two bags containing the money and drove straight to the CBN.”

“Two books, two versions of the EFCC operatives present when the alleged bribery was given, and two versions of the number of bags, and as we shall see when we consider other police statements, two versions of the date the alleged bribe (or restitution) was given and when it left Uba’s house for the CBN.

“Ribadu’s Abuja statement of 12th December 2007: “Sometime within the month of April 2007 Mr. James Ibori informed me that he had $15m for us (the EFCC) to collect. He said that it can be collected at Dr. Andy Uba’s residence, Aso Villa, Abuja. I therefore requested the Director of Operations of EFCC Mr. Lamorde to first arrange in the CBN for safe keeping of the money and proceed inform (sic) his officer to receive the money.

“First on date, Ribadu’s 2007 Police statement claimed the date was 25/4/07 but this changed by a day in the London version.

“Yet on who handed out the alleged bribe money to the EFCC, and those present at the occasion, it was contradictions galore as Lamorde further contradicted Ribadu saying that on “25th April” Ribadu told him that “there was the sum of $15 million (USD) in cash given to him and the Commission by James Ibori” (so the money was for EFCC and not Ribadu). Garba supported this version, saying that the money was there in Uba’s house on the 25th April 2007, and he was directed by Lamorde to collect the sum and deposit at the CBN, so he wrote an authorising letter which Lamorde signed – for Garba to deposit the money that same 25th April 2007. Garba said: “but I could not make the deposit that day because it was already late to do so”. Ibrahim Lamorde also contradicting Ribadu, maintained that the money was already in Uba’s residence on 25/4/07 and Ribadu “directed that I should make arrangement to collect it. So on 26 -04-07, myself and Mr. James Garba, (just two operatives, not seven as Ribadu claimed, and obviously excluding Ibrahim Magu) accompanied by Police escort proceeded to Mr. Uba’s residence. We collected the money”. So, from Lamorde’s statement, Ribadu and Ibori were not there. They just collected the money from Andy Uba”.

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