More ex-gover-nors who allegedly looted public funds and laundered them in the United Kingdom, are in trouble, as the authorities there are buoyed by their success in the trial of a former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, to activate their files.
Ibori was on April 17, sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for money laundering and theft of $250m.
It was authoritatively gathered on Friday, that the London Metropolitan Police Service was at the final stage of its investigations to bring the ex-governors to book.
Those involved were, Dr. Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Chief Joshua Dariye and another ex-governor from the South-East.
An impeccable presidency source in Abuja, told Sunday Punch, that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was assisting the London Met to wrap their investigations in
He said “Dariye, Alamie-yeseighie and another ex-governor from the South-East, have substantial evidence against them. But they are not the only ones on the list.
“The London Police are very thorough. Most of the time, it is not about how fast you can finish investigating a case, but waiting for substantial evidence is important so that you can have a successful trial.
“If you look at the Ibori case, you will understand how international fraud cases are conducted.
“A lot of international co-operation is involved because the evidence needed are scattered all over the world.
“But we have enough now for the prosecution of the three I have mentioned. We just need to settle a few things before their cases go to court.
“Nigeria and Britain have an existing Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty; therefore, getting the suspects to the UK won’t be a problem.
“It was through such assistance that the Ibori case was put to a logical conclusion.”
On the EFCC collaboration with Metropolitan police to bring more ex-governors to book, its Head, Media and Publicity Mr. Wilson Uwujaren told Sunday Punch that, “Yes, we are collaborating with the Metropolitan police on a number of cases.”
He, however, declined to mention the names of the former governors on the prosecution list,
Uwujaren said, “No, we are not giving names out.”
Pressed further on when the ex-governors would be brought to court under Ibrahim Lamorde’s EFCC chairmanship, Uwujaren was also hesitant, “I can’t talk about that too,” he said.
According to the EFCC’s record, Dariye was granted bail in 2007 in a case involving N700m corrupt enrichment.
His lawyer had challenged the jurisdiction of the court on the matter, and went on an appeal, which he lost.
Dariye has had a protracted battle with the London Met, since September 2004, when he was arrested in a London hotel for money-laundering.
He reportedly jumped bail in the UK and returned to Nigeria.
Then in 2007, the EFCC charged him and six other Plateau government functionaries before a Federal High Court on a 13-count charge, for alleged embezzlment of public funds.
Just like Dariye, the British police accused Alamieyeseigha of jumping bail in November, 2005, while he was still being investigated for money laundering.
The British High Commission in Abuja, had issued a statement which read, “The Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed to the High Commission that Alamieyeseigha is in breach of the bail conditions set by Southwark Crown Court in the United Kingdom, which include the requirement to report daily to Paddington Green Police Station in London.
“The governor failed to report to the police station on November 18 and on subsequent days. The Metropolitan Police Service retained the passport seized from Alamieyeseigha at the time of his arrest and retained it as a condition of his bail.
“The bail securities and sureties totalling £1.25m remain in place and assets valued at approximately £10m are currently restrained by order of the High Court in London.”
However, the former Bayelsa State governor was later convicted by Justice Mohammed Shuaibu of the Federal High Court in Lagos in 2007 for corrupt practices, while in office.
Efforts to get the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police to react to the activation of cases against the former governors failed, as they could not respond to emails sent to their media centres on Thursday.
A London contact said UK security agencies may not respond to the mails because they don’t want the investigations jeopardised.
In Nigeria, ex-governors, which the EFCC have cases against include, Saminu Turaki, charged with N36bn fraud, Michael Botmang N1.5bn; Boni Haruna N254million; Rasheed Ladoja N6bn, Ayo Fayose; N1.2bn, Chimaraoke Nnamani N5.3bn; Jolly Nyame N1.3bn, among others.
All the cases are still at the preliminary stage.