10 Nigerian Politicians That Allegedly Stole Just As Much As Ibori

By Abiodun Badejo*

Several Politicians have been investigated and charged with Financial crimes by Nigerian law enforcement agencies only to be set free by an oftentimes compromised Nigerian Judicial System. Unlike Ibori whose new address is Her Majesty’s Prisons, these sacred cows are presently occupying top government positions or eying them.

Most of them were governors who ended their tenure in 2007 after looting the treasury of their respective states.

DSP ALAMEISEIGHYA

Most prominent is the former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepriye Alamieyeseigha who was arrested on January 15, 2005 on money laundering charges by the London Metropolitan Police but fled the country, reportedly disguised as a woman. He was impeached by the Bayelsa State Assembly and his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan became governor. Alameiseighya did not have a single home anywhere in highbrow Lagos until he became governor. He bought a Maybach (the ultra-luxury vehicle seized from Ibori), choice houses in Lagos, Abuja, London and Beverly Hills (for his daughter) with the commonwealth of the people of Bayelsa.

The Nigerian Judicial system let him off the hook and he is careful not to set foot in the UK.

He is now an esteemed statesman who advises President Goodluck Jonathan.

JOLLY NYAME

Also, the erstwhile Governor of Taraba state, Jolly Nyame was also accused by the EFCC of defrauding his state of over N1.7billion.

Nyame was a three-term governor of the state, having first ruled between 1991 and 1993, before securing another two terms from 1999 to 2007.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and his counsel moved an application for his bail on the grounds that the offenses were bailable in law. He was ordered remanded in prison custody by the court.

The judge said that considering all the evidence before the court, there is a prima facie case against the
former governor, adding that the offence relating to corruption attracts 14 years jail term and can therefore pass for a case that is serious in law.

Now, Nyame is an ACN leader in Taraba after defecting from PDP to the party. He contested for the senatorial seat under the ACN platform with PDP candidate, Aisha Alhassan, a woman who eventually won the poll.

IGBINEDION LUCKY

Another governor on the trial list was the former governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, is the only former governor, who paid back money into state coffers through a plea bargain. He faced a 191-count charge of embezzling N4.3 billion.

A Federal High Court, Enugu had found him guilty and he immediately refunded the N 3 million, a crumb compared to the loaves he embezzled.

The case was determined on January 23, 2008. The EFCC, last February appealed the judgment, urging for stiffer sanctions.

This time, Igbinedion will face a N25 billion fraud trials at the Federal High Court in Benin, in what some observers said was motivated to curtail his political activities.

The EFCC in April 2011 sealed off two choice mansions of the former governor. The two properties are those on No. 7 Justice Fatai Williams Street, Asokoro Abuja and No. 5 Danube Crescent, Maitama Abuja. The exercise was carried out on the heels of a forfeiture order granted the EFCC on Tuesday, March 1, 2011, by a Federal High Court in Lagos.

The court, presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris, authorised EFCC to seize 11 choice properties spread over Benin, Lagos, Abuja and London, traced to the former governor

Now, Igbinedion calls South Africa home, where he has a palatial mansion and it is rumored his son drives a purple Rolls Royce Phantom.

SAMINU TURAKI

In July 2011, the EFCC re-arraigned Saminu Ibrahim Turaki over a N36 billion fraud before a Federal High Court in Dutse on a 32-count fraud charge.

Samimu Turaki, the former governor of Jigawa state who had dumped the ANPP for the PDP before the expiration of his tenure and later dumped the PDP for the ACN when he sought a return ticket to the Senate which he lost.

Some of the charges included N12 billion withdrawn from the state government treasury for financing former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s third term mission.

After reading the 32-count charge, Turaki, who appeared in the court in person, pleaded not
guilty to all the charges. His lawyer, Mr. Mahmud Abubakar Magaji, prayed the court to grant bail to his client.

After several arguments by his lawyer and EFCC counsel, the judge, Justice Shehu Yahaya, granted the accused bail based on the conditions granted by the previous judges.

In July 2011, the EFCC re-arraigned Saminu Ibrahim Turaki over a N36 billion fraud before a Federal High Court in Dutse on a 32-count fraud charge.

ORJI KALU

The former Governor of Abia, Uzor Kalu and the founder of the Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA), who in April 2011 lost his bid to represent Abia North Senatorial District in the Senate, is accused by the EFCC of embezzling a N59
billion.

The EFCC is worried that since 2007 when Kalu was arrested and arraigned, the case had been
experiencing long adjournments at the instance of the trial court.

The former governor is standing trial over alleged stealing of N59 billion (equivalent of US$460.9 million), and as a result was arraigned on 107-count charge by the anti-graft agency.

His trial was stalled due to several appeals in which he wanted the court to quash the charges. His appeals all failed both at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, and since then he was returned to the trial court to face criminal charges before Justice Adamu Bello of an Abuja Federal high Court.

The case came up on October 11, 2011 after a long adjournment from May 2011, but because judges
were holding their annual conference at Sokoto, the matter was adjourned to March 8, 2012

Kalu left PDP when he shown is interest to contest for the Presidential seat and form PPA where
he produced the present governor Theodore Orji who happened to be his Chief of Staff.

Theodore Orji played a fast game on his political godfather by decamping to PDP without properly informing his political benefactor.

Thus he ensured that Kalu lost the senatorial seat under PPA. Kalu is relaxing in a big mansion in Maryland, USA.

AYODELE FAYOSE

Ayodele Fayose, the former Governor of Ekiti State was also apprehended by the EFCC on December 17, 2007. Fayose was impeached by the Ekiti House of Assembly in 2006 over an alleged financial mismanagement.

His House in Ibadan was sealed by the anti-graft commission on September 30 2010. He accused the former Ekiti State governor, Segun Oni of using his office and as a member of PDP to instruct the EFCC to seal his house.

He left PDP in 2010 and joined the Labour Party [LP] where he contested for the senatorial seat in the last April general election. Fayose after losing the poll is now back in PDP again where indication emerged that he may likely contest for the governorship ticket under PDP.

OLABODE GEORGE

Though, he was never been a civilian governor, but he ruled some states during the military regime.

The PDP Chieftain threatened court action over a newspaper allegation that an N85 billion scam was uncovered in the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) while he was chairman of the NPA board. He described the allegation as senseless, baseless and thoughtless.

He was indicted by the EFCC when it was headed by Nuhu Ribadu on charges of fraud at the NPA. However, he was widely rumoured to have been shielded from prosecution by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

In August 2008, the EFCC under its new head Farida Waziri arrested Olabode George in Lagos and arraigned him and four others on a 163 count-charge of conspiracy, disobedience to lawful order, abuse of office and alleged illegal award of contracts worth N84 billion while he was chairman of the NPA. After the trial had started, the EFCC reduced the charge to 63 counts. In October 2009, Bode George was found guilty and sentenced to jail for 30 months.

Back from the prison, the PDP chieftain in Lagos state activeness in politics has remain doubting. Some supporters of the PDP and opposition parties believed that George is no more relevant in Nigeria politics.

HASSAN LAWAL

A former Minister for works, Hassan Lawal is still under trial over alleged N50billion fraud by the EFCC.

Lawal who was minister under late President regime, Umaru Yar’adua decamped from PDP after he was dropped by President Goodluck Jonathan after the death of Yar’adua and pitched his tent with the Congress of Progressive Change [CPC].

Already, the EFCC has charged the suspect to court.

ALAO-AKALA

Coming from the South West region is the former Governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala. He was arraigned by the EFCC on 11 count charge for awarding contracts without budget provision by defrauding the state N11billion.

He has been granted bailed and whilst Nigerians are waiting for the next action to be taken by the EFCC on
Alao-Akala, his family seems to think all is well. His son Ola recently purchased a house in Lekki Phase 1 where he parks a BMW X6 and a Range Rover.

GBENGA DANIEL

Gbenga Daniel, the former governor of Ogun State, has been re-arraigned this week by the EFCC over the alleged N58billion he looted after being set free by the Federal High Court in Abeokuta.

Daniel was alleged to have converted the state fund to his own pocket by using the state treasury to by properties.

IBRAHIM BABANGIDA

Reportedly, Babangida is in a league of his own when it comes to looting. The $12 billion oil windfall he alleged pilfered could have brought the people of the North out of poverty and illiteracy. In fact we may not be talking of Boko Haram if the former military leader hadn’t been the father of modern corruption in Nigeria.

*Culled from Daily Post Nigeria

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