Ibori is currently serving a 13-year jail term in the U.K.
Former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, in consortium with a group of business allies, owns more than 50 per cent of Notore Fertiliser Company, British prosecutors told a British Crown Court in Southwark London.
According to documents retrieved from the infamous lawyer of the disgraced governor, Bhadresh Gohil, more than half the value of the firm – $39.7 million – belongs to Mr. Ibori, Henry Imasekha and Jite Okoloko, the current Chief Executive of the firm. The latter two are known associates of Mr. Ibori.
According to crown prosecutor, Sasha Wass, a diagram drawn by Mr. Gohil intended to be a “route map for the ownership of Notore,” showed that Mike Orugbo, the front man used to acquire the company from the Nigerian government would get three per cent the value of the firm for his part in the deal.
Notore is a private limited liability company. It grew out of the sale of the moribund National Fertiliser Company of Nigeria, NAFCON in a privatisation programme. Notore acquired NAFCON for $152 million in 2005 when Mr. Ibori was Delta State Governor.
Investigators of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had also in the past linked Mr. Ibori to Notore through the use of Delta State funds.
Mr. Clark, who has been investigating the former governor since 2005, said Mr. Ibori’s interest in Notore was hidden through a shell company registered in Mauritius and a group of trusted associates.
According to the detective, Mr. Gohil, who is serving 10 years in prison for his role in helping Mr. Ibori in his grand rape of Delta State’s treasury, helped the former governor to incorporate the company known as Notore Chemical Industries Limited.
Mr. Clark also revealed that in 2005 Mr. Gohil had written Mr. Okoloko, asking him to “confirm your instructions” regarding bank coordinates for transfers. He further revealed that Mr. Gohil wrote a memo about a meeting he held with Mr. Ibori, Mr. Okoloko and Mr. Imasekha- both men also identified as co-conspirator in what could be aptly described as Grand Theft Ibori.
As revealed by Mr. Gohil’s memo, the men discussed that Notore equity be split among them. They put the value of the company, once it was operational, at $1.2bn.
But Notore immediately denied that the disgraced governor has any investment in the company.
A lawyer for the firm that was present in court told Reuters news agency that Mr. Ibori has no investment whatsoever in the firm.
“He does not own shares in the company and no other shareholder or shareholders hold shares for him in trust so far as the company is aware,” the lawyer said.
Detective Constable Peter Clark of the Metropolitan Police also revealed Mr. Ibori bought two apartments in Washington DC in 2001 worth $4.43 million. According to Mr. Clark, the total previously unknown asset of Mr. Ibori hidden through fronts were worth $11 million.
A video footage of one of Mr. Ibori’s mansions in Abuja was also shown in court. The marbled mansion has facilities such as a private gym and crystal chandeliers.
Mr. Ibori, who had evaded justice in Nigeria, is serving a 13-year prison sentence in a British prison after he was found guilty of 10 counts of money laundering. The case has been described as one of the biggest embezzlement case in British history. Evidence had earlier been shown that Mr. Ibori also owns a 30 per cent stake in Oando, Nigeria’s largest indigenous oil firm, although the company denied the claim.
A Nigerian court presided over by Justice Marcel Awokulehin had acquitted Mr. Ibori of corruption while serving as Delta governor. Efforts by the EFCC to re-arrest the politician failed as he escaped arrest and later fled to Dubai where he was arrested and extradited to the U.K.
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