Nigeria: Ace Fraudster James Ibori goes to jail | His Properties and Crime Profile

Former Nigeria governor James Ibori jailed for 13 years

Newsnight found Ibori had secret UK accounts and firms, after speaking to UK and Nigerian authorities


A former London DIY store cashier who became governor of an oil-rich Nigerian state has been jailed for 13 years for fraud totalling nearly £50m ($77m). James Ibori, former governor of Delta state, admitted 10 counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. Southwark Crown Court was told the amount he stole from the people of Delta state was "unquantified".


Ibori, who evaded capture in Nigeria after a mob of supporters attacked police, was arrested in Dubai in 2010. He was extradited to the UK, where he was prosecuted based on evidence from the Metropolitan Police. One of the counts Ibori admitted related to a $37m (£23m) fraud pertaining to the sale of Delta State's share in Nigerian privatised phone company company V Mobile.


He was governor of Delta State between May 1999 and May 2007.


Sasha Wass, QC, prosecuting, told the court Ibori "deliberately and systematically" defrauded the people he was elected to represent. The court heard he came to the UK in the 1980s and worked as a cashier at a Wickes DIY store in Neasden, north west London.


Ibori’s Profile

1991: Convicted of stealing from DIY shop Wickes


1992: Convicted of credit card fraud


1993-4: Allies himself to Nigeria's then military ruler Sani Abacha


1999: Elected Delta state governor


2007: Stepped down as governor


2007: UK assets worth $35m frozen


December 2007: Arrested in Nigeria on corruption charges


2009: Nigeria court dismisses charges


April 2010: Ibori's supporters attack police as they try to arrest him


May 2010: Arrested in Dubai


2011: Extradited to UK


2012: Jailed in London


He was convicted in 1991 of stealing from the store but then returned to Nigeria and began his climb up the People's Democratic Party (PDP) network. When he ran for governor he lied about his date of birth to hide his criminal conviction in the UK – which would have prevented him standing for office. Ibori, whose address was given as Primrose Hill, north London, claims to be 53 but police in London say he is 49.


He became governor in 1999 but soon began taking money from state coffers.


He bought:


A house in Hampstead, north London, for £2.2m

A property in Shaftesbury, Dorset, for £311,000

A £3.2m mansion in Sandton, near Johannesburg, South Africa

A fleet of armoured Range Rovers valued at £600,000

A £120,000 Bentley

A Mercedes Maybach for 407,000 euros that was shipped direct to his mansion in South Africa

After the hearing Sue Patten, head of the Crown Prosecution Service central fraud group, said it would bid to confiscate the assets Ibori had acquired his riches "at the expense of the some of the poorest people in the world".


International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said: "James Ibori's sentence sends a strong and important message to those who seek to use Britain as a refuge for their crimes.


"Corruption is a cancer in developing countries and the coalition government has a zero-tolerance approach to it." On Monday, the BBC's Newsnight revealed an equity fund backed by the UK Department for International Development's private enterprise arm, CDC Group, was being investigated by Nigerian officials. It uncovered claims suggesting CDC Group put $47.5m (£29.9m) in to the private fund, which invested in Nigerian companies allegedly linked to Ibori.


DfID said the allegations dated to 2009 and that CDC, which is overseen by Mr Mitchell, always carried out "full and thorough" checks before investing in a fund manager. CDC had investigated the claims at the time, finding "no indication that British funding had been misused", it said



James Ibori already boasts two UK convictions

Ibori has already been taken away to start his term in jail