NIGERIA: Ibori’s Alleged $15m Bribe: Court To Hear Delta’s Suit July 10
By Eric Ikhilae
The Nation, June 17, 2013
A Federal High Court in Abuja will on July 10 hear the application by Delta State Government, seeking to claim the $15million bribe allegedly offered former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, by jailed ex-Governor James Ibori.
The bribe was allegedly meant by Ibori to stop the EFCC from further investigating him for his alleged massive looting of his state while in office.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole fixed the date yesterday, following a recent ruling by the Court of Appeal, Abuja, striking out an application by a Lagos refrigerator repairer, Olalekan Bayode, seeking to halt further hearing in a suit pending the hearing of his appeal.
When the case was called yesterday, parties were set to argue the state’s application, but the court said it was inconvenient in view of its tight schedule and directed them to choose a fresh date.
The Federal Government had applied for an order of forfeiture and to direct the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), where Ribadu had lodged the bribe money to release it to the government should no one show up to claim the money.
The Delta State Government later claimed ownership of the money. It is part of its contention that Ibori, being its governor when the bribe money was offered, must have taken the money from its coffers.
Before the state’s application could be heard, Bayode applied that he be appointed as a manager to disburse the $15 million to indigents, especially widows and orphans, through a charity organisation.
He applied to be joined in the case and prayed that the money be released to him.
Justice Kolawole dismissed Bayode’s application for being frivolous and lacking in merit.
The judge held, among others that Bayode failed to show sufficient grounds and interest upon which the money in dispute should be released to him.
Justice Kolawole held that Bayode only claimed to be a Nigerian and refrigerator repairer based at Alagbado in Lagos.
The judge further held that the Federal Government, which instituted the case, did not ask for a manager for the fund, but applied that those with interest in the money should indicate before an order of forfeiture is made in its favour.
Justice Kolawole described Bayode as a busy body, meddlesome interloper and one, who was out to mock the judiciary and the issue at stake.