Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Africa (latimes.com) - The former governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta state, James Ibori, accused of stealing $250 million from state coffers, pleaded guilty to money laundering and fraud in a British court Monday. Ibori, formerly one of the ruling People’s Democratic Party’s most influential figures, was arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2010 and extradited to London, where he had six luxury houses. At the time of his arrest, Ibori was negotiating to buy himself a private jet.  Ibori’s case tells the story of a country rich in oil but characterized by Transparency International as one of the most corrupt, where billions of dollars in state funds has been stolen by government officials over many years and salted away in overseas bank accounts or spent on lavish lifestyles. British authorities, who had investigated the case for seven years, announced Monday that Ibori’s assets would be seized and returned to the people of Delta state.

Before he worked his way up through the Nigerian ruling party to become one of the country’s influential politicians, Ibori was a petty thief in Britain. He had worked in a DIY store in Ruislip in the 1990s. He was convicted in 1991 of stealing from the shop and a year later was convicted of using a stolen credit card to steal around $1,600. “Ibori “tricked” his way into office by changing his birth date and pretending he had no criminal record,” said authorities. His record would have barred him from standing for office, had it been known. He was never the legitimate governor and there was effectively a thief in government house. As the pretender of that public office, he was able to plunder Delta state’s wealth and hand out patronage. Ibori enjoyed immunity from prosecution while in office. His salary as governor was $25,000 a year. Ibori’s wife, sister, mistress and London lawyer had all been previously convicted of money laundering.

The story of how James Ibori went from convicted thief in London in the 1990s, to become governor of a wealthy oil-producing Nigerian state and then to a British prison is a remarkable one. It is the story of a wily political operator, backing the right political horses and shifting allegiances when expedient. Given slightly different circumstances it could have seen Ibori in the presidential villa rather than a British jail cell.  This is another example of a conditioned soul's defect: vipralipsa ('the desire to deceive').

Prabhupada: Everything is cheating because so long you are a conditioned soul, out of four defects, one of the defects is cheating propensity, karana patava, er, vipralipsa.(?) That is a qualification. And in this material world, the more you are expert cheater, you are considered very able man. All over the world, so many expert cheaters are going on.
Devotee: Are these people consciously cheating or raised in cheating so that they don’t know the difference?
Prabhupada: That is another thing, but they are cheating. That is a fact. How we have learnt it, that is another thing. But you are cheating. That’s fact. ... I have got tendency to cheat, so people unnecessarily poses himself as very big man even by ideas that you will consider him very great man, although I am nothing. So many gurus, they are doing that

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Room Conversation with Ratan Singh Rajda M.P.
“Nationalism and Cheating” - April 15, 1977, Bombay
770415rc.bom - Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International

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