Nigeria: $15 million bribe; could Ribadu be lying?
By Fejiro Oliver
The hearing of the Ibori case which took place on Friday in London may just be a game of witch-hunting as former Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu told the court that the commission which he once lead had no official record for the alledged $15 million bribe given to him by Ibori to avoid been prosecuted. He could not also provide documents to back up his claim. During the cross examination of Ribadu by
Ibori’s lead counsel, Ivan Krolic, he stated that the only evidence which he had, been his personal note were lost in transit, but he contradicted himself when he gave different dates of the loss during re-examination. He had earlier said he lost it in 2007, only to lie that he lost it in July 2008.
Here are excerpts of the examination :
Krolic: Did you take notes on Ibori in the course of your several conversations with him over the offer $15 million bribe?
Ribadu: I did, but lost them during my crisis in Nigeria
Krolic: Did you not keep them in the EFCC office?
Ribadu: No, I am the Chairman. It is not my job to keep files.
Krolic: Ok, when you lost your personal notes that contained your conversation with Mr. Ibori, who did you report to?
Ribadu: I lost a complete briefcase containing documents
Ribadu: In Jos while I was in school
Krolic: So who did you report to?
Ribadu: I reported to my school.
Ibori who spoke later on the issue after the hearing reportedly told his lawyers that
“Ribadu could not even recall the date of the alleged bribe, how many bags it was contained,
whether or not he saw the money or even who was present. He is a serial liar, who lied
consistently and not able to sustain his lies”.
It was also revealed that Ribadu did not report the case of his missing briefcase containing
vital documents including his personal notes on the Ibori case to the police.
More lies were noticed in Ribadu’s statement on further cross examination by Krolic. The cross examination went thus:
Krolic: Is it right to say that you should have ensured that your conversation with Ibori over
his offer of $15million bribe to you should have been kept in an EFCC file?
Ribadu: Of course, but in the file of the individual investigating officers
Krolic: Are these individual files not central in EFCC?
Ribadu: Individual files of the officers involved.
But when Krolic, reminded Ribadu of the date he claimed in the morning, Ribadu held his ground saying “Everything happened in 2008.”
However, the current EFCC boss, Ibrahim Lamorde who was one of Ribadu’s officers then,
stated in a prosecution witness statement and that the money was brought and put in the car by Andy Uba and his domestic staff. Again, this statement by Lamorde contradicted Ribadu confessions that the $15million bribe was delivered by by Ibori’s driver and assistant into a room at Andy Uba’s place.
Krolic re-examined trying to clarify the conflicting statements of Ribadu and Lamorde
hence, Ribadu simply answered: “Yes, I did not sign this statement; you need to ask
Lamorde”, Ribadu further maintained when Krolic insisted Lamorde’ statement had noted
to the court that it was Uba and his domestic staff who put the money in the car.
Krolic then said: “Mr. Ibori did not offer or give any bribe money of $15million neither was he
there at Mr. Andy Uba’s residence during the alleged handing over of bribe money.”
Krolic submitted to the court that he does not dispute the fact that $15 million exchanged hands between Larmode, Garba and Uba, and deposited in the Central Bank of Nigeria, but he emphasized that the money was from the Federal Government in an attempt to frame his client, Ibori.
Krolic requested that Lamorde and James Garba should be made to appear before
the court alongside Ribadu but it was reported that the duo could not secure their visas to the UK.