Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu said ex-Delta State Governor James Ibori attempted to bribe him with $15million in two big bags, but he resisted.
Nuhu Ribadu said the bribe was, however, deposited in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to serve as evidence against him. Nuhu Ribadu said this at the TEDx Talk in Berlin, Germany, said although “anti-corruption war is the most dangerous work, this is one war worth fighting.”
He further added “Do you know that every year, $60billion leaves Africa illegally? This figure is from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)”.
“Billions are going out of Africa every year. I’m a Nigerian and I am from this paradoxical continent where today our most notorious export in Africa is stolen money.”
“Ibori approached me with $15million to stop his investigation. I called my people because the money was in big bags, which two people could not carry and we deposited it in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as evidence against him”.
“I arrested Ibori and prosecuted him. Since his friend was in power, they removed me, sent me to a school as a student where I was once a teacher”.
“They made attempts on my life, but they did not know I was using a bullet-proof Honda car. As God would have it, ex-President Umaru Yar’Adua died. Ibori escaped to Dubai from where he was taken to the United Kingdom for trial. He is serving a jail term in the UK.”
Speaking on the trial and conviction of ex-Inspector-General of Police Tafa Balogun, the former EFCC chairman said the case was a by-product of the investigation of Emmanuel Nwude, who duped a Brazilian bank of $254m.
Ribadu said: “The case of Nwude made us to be more determined. In the course of his case, I stumbled on an account belonging to my boss, Tafa Balogun. I arrested him, he was tried and convicted, and I recovered enough from him”.
“We also investigated and tried about 49 chief executives of banks. Fighting corruption is a war and if you are in a war, you must go for the big targets.”
On the $184m Halliburton scandal, Ribadu said: “A gang of foreigners stole from Nigeria” from a $6 billion natural gas contract won by a consortium of four international companies”.
“I first got hint of the case in France. I returned home and tried to investigate the case, but it was very difficult or probably impossible because the companies were not there in Nigeria, they didn’t have account there, the people were not there. They had left”.
“I rushed back to Paris. I was in Paris many times. I wrote a request letter, but after a year of trying to get French authorities to help us, the investigation magistrate told me that they could not get anyone to translate my letter from English to French. I knew it was a hopeless case.”
He said after failing to get France, Italy and Japan to help, he opted to go to the United States, although Dick Cheney, the then US vice president, was on the board of Halliburton.
“The Department of Justice in the United States took up the case. They investigated and prosecuted the case. They placed a fine of over $1.5billion on the company, the biggest in the world for corporate corruption.”
Ribadu said some of the cases, which the EFCC under his watch referred to US Department of Justice, including those of Siemens and Julius Berger, the US made over $3billion in fines.
He added: “But the sad aspect is this, in my own country, where the criminal activity took place, not a person was made to face justice, especially after I was asked to leave my position. Sadly, Nigeria did not make a dollar out of it.”
Omolara Adegoke- Abuja
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