Ex-Convict James Ibori Facilitated Tinubu’s Appointment Of In-law Linked To His Illicit Financial Schemes As NDDC Board Chairman, Ebie – Sources

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President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday approved the appointment of a new board and management of the NNDC which was led by Lauretta Onochie.

Chiedu Ebie, the newly appointed board chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was a suspect in former Governor James Ibori’s illicit financial schemes that led him to jail.

President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday approved the appointment of a new board and management of the NNDC which was led by Lauretta Onochie.

The President subsequently approved the appointment of a new board and management of the NDDC to be headed by Chiedu Ebie from Delta State as the chairman.

A statement issued by the president’s media aide Ajuri Ngelale stated that Tinubu “expects that the new board and management team will ensure a new era of successful administration in the NDDC, in line with his Renewed Hope agenda”.

However, it can be report that the expectation may not materialise considering Ebie’s links to an ex-convict and former Delta governor, Ibori, who is his in-law.

Indeed, sources said that Ibori – a close friend of President Tinubu – facilitated Ebie’s appointment.

“Ebie’s appointment was facilitated by former Governor James Ibori, who is close to President Tinubu,” one of the sources revealed

In 2011,the broke news of Ibori’s extradited to the UK after UAE security arrested him from his Dubai home.

Ibori arrived in the UK via Heathrow Airport after the London Metropolitan Police foiled his plot to evade his impending trial in the UK. Upon arrival, he was taken to London police station and processed for his appearance in court. Ibori was subsequently slammed with 25 counts of money laundering and fraud.

Ibori was governor of the oil-rich Delta State from 1999 to 2007.

He pleaded guilty in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money laundering and received a 13-year jail sentence of which he served half, as is standard.

The case was hailed as a landmark in the fight against corruption in Britain, a global money-laundering hub, and in Nigeria, where self-enrichment by the ruling elite has been one of the main factors holding back development for decades.

In July, a UK court ordered that Britain should confiscate $130 million from Ibori, who abused his office to get rich and laundered millions in Britain and elsewhere.

In a court order issued in London, Judge David Tomlinson of Southwark Crown Court said Ibori should pay the sum immediately or face an eight-year jail sentence. According to the judge, Ibori benefited from criminal conduct in the sum of 101.5 million pounds.

Ibori vowed to appeal against the confiscation order, but SaharaReporters could not establish at the time of filing this report that he did.

As for Ebie, he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Benin in 1991 and proceeded to the Nigeria Law School where he was called to the Nigerian Bar.

In 2015, Ebie became the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education in Delta State, and in 2019, he was sworn in as the Secretary to the State Government by then-Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

In May 2021, Okowa sacked Ebie, 25 commissioners, and some aides to “give room for fresh blood”.

However, it was learnt that Ebie was a card-carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party at the time he was appointed by Tinubu, even though he was suspended by the PDP Ward 5 Ekuku-Agbor in his local government area, Ika South over alleged anti-party activities before, during and after the 2023 general elections.

Apart from being an in-law of Mr. Ibori, he was identified as a suspect in former Governor Ibori’s illicit financial schemes.

An investigation done by SaharaReporters as of September 2015 revealed that Mr. Ebie was implicated in a series of money-laundering investigations in the UK involving Mr. Ibori.

Also, Mr. Ebie was implicated in the 170-count charge of money laundering the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) earlier filed against Mr. Ibori before he was eventually sentenced in the UK.

An EFCC source told SaharaReporters at the time Mr Ibori was sentenced that Mr. Ebie was “still not off the hook,” adding that the anti-corruption agency still intended to prosecute him.

“As soon as Chief Ibori concludes his 13-year jail term in London, his prosecution together with Ebie and others will commence,” said the EFCC source.

He added that a three-judge panel of the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal ruled on May 15, 2014, that former Governor Ibori “has a case to answer.”

Mr. Ebie denied knowledge of any of the allegations but admitted to the pending court case against him at the time, saying, “Permit me to clarify that I am not aware of any allegations relating to me.

“What I am aware of is a pending appeal on the outcome of the judgment delivered previously which has always been within the public domain. In any case, since the matter is sub judice, we will do well to avoid discussing matters that are pending before the court.”

Credit: Sahara Reporter

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