A court in Abuja has ordered the IG of police to uncover what roles Senator Andy Uba and businessman, Chibuike Achigbu, played in the $15m Ibori bribe.
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has been ordered to investigate Andy Uba, a serving Senator, for his role in the “Ibori $15 million” bribery scandal.
Mr. Abubakar will also investigate what role, the self-acclaimed financier of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chibuike Achigbu, played in the bribery scheme.
The Magistrate at the Chief Magistrate court II in Abuja, Azubike Okagu, gave the order on Monday following an application by Lagos Lawyer, Festus Keyamo. Mr. Keyamo had asked the court to compel the police boss to investigate the two men for their roles in the bribery scandal.
Mr. Okagu not only granted the order, he also directed Mr. Abubakar to report to the court, on September 26, on his findings.
Though the police boss is obliged to obey the order, unless it is appealed, it is not clear if Mr. Mohammed will actually investigate the two men.
Police spokesman, Frank Mba, Tuesday evening denied knowledge of the order.
“I am yet to see any order. As soon as I get a copy of the order and I look at it, I will be able to respond immediately,” Mr. Mba said.
How they got involved
Mr. Uba was directly involved in the bribery attempt from April 26, 2007, when it was given to Nuhu Ribadu, who was at the time, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). It was at Mr. Uba’s house in Asokoro that the cash bribe was received by an EFCC official, Ibrahim Lamorde, and his team on behalf of the former anti-graft boss.
Mr. Ribadu, Mr. Lamorde, and a CBN official, James Garba, all testified- in court affidavits, identifying Mr. Uba’s house as the place where the money was received.
“On the said 26-04-07, myself and Mr. James Garba, accompanied by Police escort proceeded to Mr. Uba’s residence. We collected the money (US $15million) and immediately proceeded to C.B.N where we deposited same,” Mr. Lamorde, who is the current Chairman of the EFCC sad in his affidavit.
Sources knowledgeable about the deal say Mr. Uba, who was then a Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo allowed his house to be used for the deal because of his closeness to James Ibori, the former governor of Delta State who at the time was being investigated by the anti-graft agency. Mr. Ibori allegedly offered the cash bribes to kill the investigations.
Mr. Uba has himself admitted to volunteering his house for the deal.
“When I was in the Presidency, my house in the Villa was a convenient place for many top people in Nigeria to come. Probably, Chief Ibori didn’t want to go to the EFCC office to hand over the money and so decided to use my house,” the Anambra Senator said in a statement by his aide.
Mr. Uba however said he did not know the details of the proposed deal between Messrs. Ibori and Ribadu before the bribe offer. He also denied any knowledge of or relationship with Mr. Achigbu, his self-confessed accomplice.
The Chibuike Achigbu connection
A relatively unknown Mr. Achigbu brought himself to the fore a fortnight ago when he had his lawyers file an affidavit and a suit in court, that he was the true owner of the bribe. (attach link to first story)
Mr. Achigbu, who identified himself as a businessman with interests in diverse fields including oil and gas claimed he raised the money, from friends and business associates, for the PDP.
The businessman, a former commissioner in Imo State, hired 10 lawyers including three Senior Advocates of Nigeria to pursue his case for a refund of the money to him, in court. He claimed to be a longtime friend of Mr. Uba.
Though Mr. Uba insists he was not privy to Mr. Achigbu’s actions and claims he had nothing to do with the businessman, sources close to the Senator told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Uba was privy to Mr. Achigbu’s claims and that the Senator only tried to use a surrogate to re-claim the Ibori bribe money.
“How do you think (Chibuike) Achigbu got money to hire three SANs, you think anyone can just wake up from the moon to do what they did?” a source close to the Senator said.
The source claimed that Mr. Uba only retreated when he saw the public backlash that followed Mr. Achigbu’s court filings.
Mr. Achigbu himself attested to this when he stated in his affidavit that he got a call from the Senator a couple of days before filing his suit and that the senator was ready to attest to everything he said in his affidavit.
A couple of days after filing his suit, Mr. Achigbu dramatically withdrew it. Lawyers however insisted that a withdrawal of the application did not negate the fact that Mr. Achigbu made all his statements under oath and should thus be investigated.
“It is on oath. It is an affidavit. Under the oath act, it is an offence to swear to a false oath,” Charles Musa, Lagos based lawyer said. “The source of that fund must be investigated.”
We don’t know this man
Already, a company initially linked to Mr. Achigbu has denied any relationship with him.
Chimons Gas Limited, whose Chief executive office is named Chibuike Lawrence Achigbu, said it has no relationship with the man.
“Some publications linked the name with our boss and we were thinking of suing. But we have released a disclaimer on newspapers. He has been going to Abuja frequently because of this,” said Vincent Okoro, Sales and Operations Manager of the company.
Following the Abuja court order, the police now have the responsibility to let Nigerians know who the man who claimed ownership of the “Ibori $15 million” bribe is, and his relationship with a serving senator.