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Reverse Robin Hood in Nigeria

How do you turn an annual salary of $25,000 into a fortune worth more than $250 million?

Become the governor of a Nigerian state.

The BBC reports that James Ibori, a former governor of the oil-producing state of Delta, pleaded guilty in a UK court to ten counts of money-laundering and conspiracy to defraud.

Ibori spent his ill-gotten loot on, among other things, six London houses and expensive British private schools for his children. Meanwhile, the children of Delta—described as “some of the poorest people in the world”—were deprived of sanitation, power supplies, and healthcare as Ibori funneled money from the state budget to his personal account.

It turns out that this was not Ibori’s first (or even second) conviction in a UK court. In what amounted to a dry-run for his later efforts as governor, Ibori and his wife were found guilty of stealing from a DIY shop in 1991. A year later, Ibori was caught in possession of a stolen credit card, which he used to fraudulently withdraw nearly $2,000.

Ibori sought to downplay his checkered past by simply claiming none of it ever happened: Prosecutors say he “tricked” his way into becoming governor by lying about his age and stating he had no criminal record.

Curiously, the BBC article called Ibori “one of” Nigeria’s wealthiest politicians. This left Via Meadia to wonder: If $250 million doesn’t grant you the top spot in Nigeria, then how many other Nigerian politicians are still plundering public treasuries?

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  • Anthony

    WRM, related article from Yale Center for the Study of Globalization (Elites loot Africa) highlights how $32 billion in public funds went missing from Angola through 2007 to 2010. Such corruption takes a staggering toll on average Africans as implied in your comments about children of Nigerian Delta.

    Public plundering indicative of complicity…

  • Kris

    I’m shocked, shocked to find that scamming is going on in Nigeria!

  • Tamquam

    In 1994 the African conference of Catholic bishops held a meeting in Rome (“Because if we held it in Africa nobody would notice.”). At one of the post-event presentations in Pontificia Urbanitas Urbaniana one of the presenters, a Kenyan bishop, announced that 95 years of Catholic evangelization were an unmitigated failure. Two things demonstrated this beyond doubt: 1. The Hutu and Tutsi tribes in Rawanda, both among the earliest and most faithful converts, were even then busily killing each other. 2. Those among Africa’s presidents who counted themselves Catholic were just as big a bunch of thieves as any other. To which a shocked Italian prelate replied, “Not so! There are lots of Baptisms, Confirmations and Communions and people go to Confession!”

  • Kris

    Tamquam@3, how many years would you say it took for the Catholic evangelization in Europe to achieve “success”?

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